Structure k-cohesion experiment

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Small group experiments. Wolfgang Luhan is doing the first round of experiments and has the z-tree material.

Software

Fischbacher, Urs. 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2): 171-178. z-tree home

Background and references

See Cooperation : The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics on Panchanathan, K. & Boyd, R. Indirect reciprocity can stabilize cooperation without the second-order free rider problem and the review of their work by James Fowler: Panchanathan, K. & Boyd, R. on Human cooperation Second-order free-riding problem solved? Nature 432, 499–502 (2004). Here the Karthik Panchanathan & Rob Boyd (2005) reply: Human cooperation: Second-order free riding problem solved? (reply). Nature 437: E8-E9.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences

Gachter, Simon, and Benedikt Herrmann. 2009. Reciprocity, culture and human cooperations previous insights and a new cross-cultural experiment. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences vol.364(no.1518).

Abstract: Understanding the proximate and ultimate sources of human cooperation is a fundamental issue in all behavioural sciences. In this paper, we review the experimental evidence on how people solve cooperation problems. Existing studies show without doubt that direct and indirect reciprocity are important determinants of successful cooperation. We also discuss the insights from a large literature on the role of peer punishment in sustaining cooperation. The experiments demonstrate that many people are 'strong reciprocators' who are willing to cooperate and punish others even if there are no gains from future cooperation or any other reputational gains. We document this in new one-shot experiments, which we conducted in four cities in Russia and Switzerland. Our cross-cultural approach allows us furthermore to investigate how the cultural background influences strong reciprocity. Our results show that culture has a strong influence on positive and in especially strong negative reciprocity. In particular, we find large cross-cultural differences in 'antisocial punishment' of pro-social cooperators. Further cross-cultural research and experiments involving different socio-demographic groups document that the antisocial punishment is much more widespread than previously assumed. Understanding antisocial punishment is an important task for future research because antisocial punishment is a strong inhibitor of cooperation.

Burt, Ronald S. 2008 "Gossip and Reputation," (GR ­ Pre-print of a chapter in a 2008 Hermes-Lavoisier book, Management et Reseaux Sociaux: Ressource Pour l'Action ou Outil de Gestion?, edited by Marc Lecoutre and Pascal Lievre, the paper translated into French (see: research)

Abstract. Few things are more valuable than reputation, or more consequential for the success of new ventures. Yet popular understanding continues to be based on anecdotes and platitudes in which positive reputations are the reward for good work and good behavior, while negative reputations are retribution for poor work and bad behavior. In fact, reputations emerge not from what we do, but from people talking about what we do. It is the positive and negative stories exchanged about you, the gossip about you, that defines your reputation. Accuracy is a nicety more than a requirement for the stories. What circulates depends on the interests of people doing the circulation, which empowers gossip with its sociologically interesting effect on reputation. This chapter is an introduction to the way that gossip defines reputation, describing the importance of closed networks to the benefits of reputation, and the pathology of networks left closed too long.

Kees Keizer, Siegwart Lindenberg, Linda Steg. 2008. The Spreading of Disorder. Science 12 December 2008: Vol. 322. no. 5908, pp. 1681 - 1685. DOI: 10.1126/science.1161405.

Abstract. Imagine that the neighborhood you are living in is covered with graffiti, litter, and unreturned shopping carts. Would this reality cause you to litter more, trespass, or even steal? A thesis known as the broken windows theory suggests that signs of disorderly and petty criminal behavior trigger more disorderly and petty criminal behavior, thus causing the behavior to spread. This may cause neighborhoods to decay and the quality of life of its inhabitants to deteriorate. For a city government, this may be a vital policy issue. But does disorder really spread in neighborhoods? So far there has not been strong empirical support, and it is not clear what constitutes disorder and what may make it spread. We generated hypotheses about the spread of disorder and tested them in six field experiments. We found that, when people observe that others violated a certain social norm or legitimate rule, they are more likely to violate other norms or rules, which causes disorder to spread.

Bernhard, Helen, Urs Fischbacher & Ernst Fehr, 2006. Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2006. "Parochial Altruism in Humans" [1].

Bernhard, Helen, & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2006. "Group Affiliation and Altruistic Norm Enforcement," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 217-221, May.

Explaining the evolution and maintenance of cooperation among unrelated individuals is one of the fundamental problems in biology and the social sciences. Recent findings suggest that altruistic punishment is an important mechanism maintaining cooperation among humans. We experimentally explore the boundaries of altruistic punishment to maintain cooperation by varying both the cost and the impact of punishment, using an exceptionally extensive subject pool. Our results show that cooperation is only maintained if conditions for altruistic punishment are relatively favourable: low cost for the punisher and high impact on the punished. Our results indicate that punishment is strongly governed by its cost-to-impact ratio and that its effect on cooperation can be pinned down to one single variable: the threshold level of free-riding that goes unpunished. Additionally, actual pay-offs are the lowest when altruistic punishment maintains cooperation, because the pay-off destroyed through punishment exceeds the gains from increased cooperation. Our results are consistent with the interpretation that punishment decisions come from an amalgam of emotional response and cognitive cost–impact analysis and suggest that altruistic punishment alone can hardly maintain cooperation under multi-level natural selection. Uncovering the workings of altruistic punishment as has been done here is important because it helps predicting under which conditions altruistic punishment is expected to maintain cooperation.
Keywords: altruistic punishment, cooperation, Internet experiment, public good

Egas, Martijn, and Arno Riedl. 2008. The economics of altruistic punishment and the maintenance of cooperation Proc. R. Soc. B 22 April 2008 vol. 275 no. 1637 871-878. 10.1098/rspb.2007.1558

Explaining the evolution and maintenance of cooperation among unrelated individuals is one of the fundamental problems in biology and the social sciences. Recent findings suggest that altruistic punishment is an important mechanism maintaining cooperation among humans. We experimentally explore the boundaries of altruistic punishment to maintain cooperation by varying both the cost and the impact of punishment, using an exceptionally extensive subject pool. Our results show that cooperation is only maintained if conditions for altruistic punishment are relatively favourable: low cost for the punisher and high impact on the punished. Our results indicate that punishment is strongly governed by its cost-to-impact ratio and that its effect on cooperation can be pinned down to one single variable: the threshold level of free-riding that goes unpunished. Additionally, actual pay-offs are the lowest when altruistic punishment maintains cooperation, because the pay-off destroyed through punishment exceeds the gains from increased cooperation. Our results are consistent with the interpretation that punishment decisions come from an amalgam of emotional response and cognitive cost–impact analysis and suggest that altruistic punishment alone can hardly maintain cooperation under multi-level natural selection. Uncovering the workings of altruistic punishment as has been done here is important because it helps predicting under which conditions altruistic punishment is expected to maintain cooperation.
Keywords: altruistic punishment * cooperation * Internet experiment * public good * EMU * experimental money unit * ESM * electronic supplementary material * PP * punishment point

Grégoire, Guillaume and Hugues Chaté. 2004. Onset of Collective and Cohesive Motion. Physical Review Letters 92(2) 3pp. 025702.

Drafts

http://intersci.ss.uci.edu/wiki/pw/Experiment_k-cohesion.pdf (draft 0)

http://intersci.ss.uci.edu/wiki/pub/k-cohesion1.pdf (draft 1 - incorporates comments from Aljaz Ule through Jeroen Bruggeman)

http://intersci.ss.uci.edu/wiki/pub/k-cohesion2.pdf (draft 2 - Jeroen Bruggeman improves DW revision 1)

Comments on drafts

1. In the first paragraph you seem to say that "Reputation ... is better avoided", which I don't understand; why?

I thought that recent experiments cast some doubt on the generic effectiveness of punishment in establishing cooperation - or have these authors never dealt with small children? In any case, if reputation can in part establish cooperation, then less punishment is necessary to establish cooperation (Rockenbach and Milinski’s result), which avoids players to rely strongly on punishment (and us to deal with it in our explanation) – betting on the safe side it is, rather than avoiding punishment altogether.

2. You also say there that a clique is a "maximally cohesive group". Is cohesion then defined only in terms of the structure of interaction? Reading above this sentence I understood that cohesion involves shared norms and emotions - something that may not be captured simply by a structure of the network. Also, the idea that k-connectivity captures cohesion also suggests that it all reduces to the network structure.

In Douglas White’s work, there is a distinction between the ideational and the relational components of cohesion, although I doubt that one can distinguish them completely. For sure, if there is higher k-connectivity relational-wise, White would hypothesize that there is also a higher level of shared norms and emotions; the latter are hard to measure, though, while the k-connectivity is in the hands of the experimenter. The effect of higher shared norms and emotions can be measured, though, as the contributions to the collective goal. The reason why one can’t distinguish the two components of cohesion is this: a network tie is a set of expectations and memories, possibly incorporating shared norms and emotions; once there is a tie, the shared norms, expectations and emotions can’t be cut away (without violating all ethics on brain surgery during game experiments, that is).

3. It is not clear to me why you intend to use Rockenbach and Milinski's game appended by limited possibility for social pressure. That game had a specific intention to compere the varying roles of rewards and punishment. It was not suggested to be a realistic game of social cooperation. The complicated game might make analysis of experiments very demanding.

Let’s keep the experiment as simple and as cheap as possible! Please ignore my ignorance on these matters; I used their paper as a template, lacking experience in doing experiments.

4. Did you plan that the public goods game is played across all players or between neighbors only? Is the whole collection of games played once or is it repeated?

Indeed the interactions should be limited to network neighbors according to the figures. Some repetition seems necessary, though, because then players can anticipate that a bad reputation, or selfish action, in a current round may harm them in future rounds.

5. Do you already have any specific research questions in mind? What about hypotheses?

Question: does k-connectivity increase cooperation in a public goods game? Hypothesis: for a small group, the higher k-connectivity, the higher the yield in the public goods game. For large groups (much larger than in the proposal) I would expect a non-monotonic effect, because people would feel ‘suffocated’ by too many ties, get annoyed, and reduce their contributions.

6. Finally, my experience is that many treatments lead to lots of complications in analysis and interpretation. Why not simply focussing on the last comparison between networks in Figures 4 and 5? If any difference in cooperation is observed there you can clearly conclude it's due to the k-connectivity factor.

JB: You are right - of course the two groups in Figures 4 and 5 are enough.

Group design

Seems to me, though, we might have a seven-person circle k=2 in addition to figs 2 and 3. That provides not only a contrast between a 2 subgroups with broker graph (fig 2) and a single k=3 group (fig 3) both with same density, average path distance, degree centralization, group size --- but a contrast with a moderate-cohesion group (k=2) with no centralization at all. If that comes up as "higher" on some outcome than fig 3, then the effect is not cohesion but centralization....

Doug

The circle (k=2) seems excellent!

I can also try at Oxford, I know very well a clever Chicago postdoc (very network oriented political scientist) who just got a job there and told me they have a lab, and she and I got some European funding to pay for network related research, which can be spent on the experiment (within Europe, that is, not if it's in the USA). Shall I await your request first?

Jeroen.

Sept 2008

Version of the document at 30 September 2008: 7-cycle (k=2) replaced by graph (k=3) that is comparable to the other graphs, due to its having the same average path distance and density; to the paper some minor changes, and references added by Jeroen. http://users.fmg.uva.nl/jbruggeman/k-cohesion3.pdf (draft 3 - Jeroen Bruggeman improves revision 2)

First experiments

I had promised this quarter to present to the informal graduate seminar (the one you run with Brian) the plans for a social psych experiment in our lab that would test the effects of connectivity-k differences in small group structure (levels of cohesion, controlling for other network properties) on cooperative behavior. The original idea was to engage Laurent and another student from IMBS in the experiment and to it here in our lab building at the end of this quarter. The following emails that arrived in the last two months from my collaborator from Holland, most recent first, changed the plan. Experimenters from Oldenburg and Utrecht have each undertaken to do and to pay for the in itial experiments. I would like to postpone the IMBS discussion until next fall at which point we will have two sets of results and we can think about (1) how good are the tests (2) interpretation of first results (3) dependent variables (4) redesign and (5) doing our own experiments at UCI as a grad student project. (Doug 19:27, 5 March 2009 (PST) to IMBS faculty)

Hi Doug,

The first rounds of experiments on k-cohesion will take place anywhere between two to eight weeks. Only minor changes of our research plan were necessary to make it lab-ready (see enclosed latest version). Apparently, there exists a chat function on the computers in the lab, and each individual can be given a (dyadic) chat window for each of his/her alters, wherein they can gossip as they like. This feature looks pretty cool to me!

Our experiments will be done for our three topologies -- six groups each -- over 20 rounds for each group. In each round, subjects (1) contribute to the public good as much as they want to, (2) chat about the behavior of their neighbors, (3) punish neighbors if they wish to, (4) who in turn are then informed about the punishments received.

If this yields a positive result, Bernhard Kittel will pay for subsequent experiments on turnover and on noise, each in turn, which for parsimony will not be included in the first experiment. He also suggested to use first positive results to raise research funding for subsequent experiments, which I would like to do in part in other cultures, e.g. Senegal, just like Joseph Henrich cum suis did in their experiments to figure out the magnitude of cultural diversity in social behavior. Since Bernhard Kittel is the dean of the faculty and has not much time, he asked a young behavioral economist, Wolfgang Luhan, to program the computer and to run the actual experiments. I've talked to him, he seems very enthousiastic to do this and apparently has much experience.

They have a pool of volunteers, from which they will take a random sample, so the chances of friends to be in the same experimental group are small.

Let's keep our fingers crossed,

Jeroen.


Some more good news: Vincent Buskens, who wrote multiple papers on trust in networks based on laboratory experiments, is very much interested in our proposal, perhaps he will run experiments in his lab in Utrecht to test if k-cohesion increases trust. In any case, if he joins and we would have two labs, we could test on more groups and therefore have better results than in one lab. On January 8, I'll discuss the plans with Bernhard Kittel in Germany.

Jeroen.


Hi Doug,

We're in business! Bernhard Kittel from Oldenburg university in Germany is willing to do the experiment in his lab and to pay for it. In January I'll go there for preliminary talks. He proposes me to stay there for a couple of months (for which he has resources), so that sounds pretty good to me.

Jeroen