We will use this space each week in the news blast for Justin to share new ideas he thinks may be of interest for our behavioral & experimental community. If you ever have ideas for topics, please share your ideas with
This Week's BRITE Idea:
There is a fascinating
by Matteo Galizzi and Daniel Navarro-Martinez on the external validity of lab-experimental Social Preference Games, such as the dictator, public goods, ultimatum and trust games. Their stated research question is “to what extent do experimental social preference games tap into principles governing social behavior when it is put in context of taken outside the lab?” They are clear that they are not asking the more general question about whether lab experiments have value and, in fact, state that in their view lab experiments are “not only useful but also necessary in the social and behavioral sciences.”
They have people do a series of the classic and popular lab experimental games. They then also elicit behavior in some field social contexts related to giving money and helping others and also to self-reports of past measures of pro-social tendencies. Here is their headline conclusion: “none of the behaviors elicited in the field or reported from the past were explained to a significant extent by behavior in the experimental games.”
Very important research for those of us who sometimes use these games to consider – important to weigh whether what we are doing is useful only based on the internal validity within the lab environment vs. the extent to which the external validity of these measures is crucial.