Has the World Changed? My Neighbor Might Know Effects of Social Context on Routine Deviation
34 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011
Date Written: August 1, 2011
In two experiments we studied the effects of behavioral models on routine deviation decisions in observers. Participants repeatedly chose among four card-deck lotteries together with a human model (confederate, Exp. 1) or a non-human model (computer, Exp. 2) that made correct decisions in the majority of the trials. In a learning phase, participants acquired a choice routine (preferring one deck over others). In a subsequent test phase, participants had to adapt to changes in the payoff structure that required them to deviate from their routine. We found a strong tendency to maintain the routine despite negative feedback (routine effect). In a social situation (Exp.1), models decrease routine effects more intensely than in non social situations (Exp.2). The process of adaptation follows a belief updating process. Results indicate that the model effect is not due to an increase of the sample of relevant information nor to application of a simply copy heuristic. Rather, deviation models may provide a cue for change that fosters reevaluation of the situation in the observer.
Keywords: Experienced-based decision making, routine, habit, adaptation, social influence, Bayesian updating, novelty
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