November 6, 2012, 13:00-14:15, room B136, Boumangebouw
Reputation Management in Laboratory Experiments and Artificial Settings
If one were to enumerate the most influential and universal social behaviors in human societies, gossip would undoubtedly be one of them. Reputation spreading is fundamental for partner selection, social control, and coalition formation, but it plays also a role in social comparison (Wert and Salovey, 2004), and group cohesion (Gluckman, 1963), just to name some of its main functions. In evolutionary terms, indirect reciprocity sustained by reputational concerns has been proven to be effective, both in laboratory experiments (Wedekind and Milinski, 2000; Rockenbach and Milinski, 2006; Engelmann and Fischbacher, 2009), and in simulation settings (Nowak & Sigmund, 1998). Moreover, evolutionary psychologists claim that reputation had implications for individuals’ fitness-relevant actions in primitive societies (Barkow, 1992; Dunbar, 1996), in which good reputation was essential for survival. In this talk, I will focus on two distinct but complementary aspects of reputation: the cognitive mechanisms for reputation management and the dynamics of reputation transmission. First, I will present results from two experimental studies in which, using an economic game, we observed a sensitivity to gain a good reputation, also in an anonymous setting. Our results complement previous work on implicit reputational cues as a proximal explanation for cooperative choices. In the second part of the talk, I will present an agent-based simulation model in which we investigated the effects of informational cheating in a market-like scenario. Our results show that manipulating the source of information when reputation can be used to lie is an effective strategy to prevent cooperation from collapsing, and to foster exchanges also for high percentages of cheaters in the population.
Francesca Giardini received her PhD in Cognitive Science from the University of Siena (Italy). She currently works at the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (National Research Council of Italy) in Rome, and she was a post-doc at the Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University in Budapest (HU). Her research focuses on the factors behind “reputational decision making”, in an attempt to unravel the psychological mechanisms for reputation management and the dynamics of reputation transmission and manipulation. She uses cognitive modelling, agent-based simulations and experimental games in the lab to validate her hypotheses.
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