Date: 26th of October 2017
Place: Room 3001
Gary CHARNESS (University of California, Santa Barbara) – “Choices Over Biased Information Structures: Reinforcement, Confirmation And Contradiction Seeking Behavior In The Laboratory” with Ryan OPREA and Sevgi YUKSEL
Abstract: We study choices among information structures that are characterized by different biases. Bias is introduced via either distortion, through possibility of false reports as in cheap talk games of Crawford and Sobel (1982), or via filtering, through possibility of strategic omission of information as in disclosure games of Milgrom and Roberts (1986). The experimental design exploits how the optimal information structure depends on one’s prior and the form of the bias- filtering or distortion. Typing subjects based on their choices in a series of questions spanning these cases, we find strong evidence for confirmation, contradiction and certainty seeking behavior. This is particularly surprising given that traditional explanations for confirmation or contradiction seeking behavior are shut down in our design. Finally, we do not observe bias in choices over information structures to be correlated with biases in how signals are later interpreted. We discuss implications of our results in the context of political information and the role of media bias.