Tuesday, 6th June 2023
16:00 - 17:00
Clay Room - Nuffield College
Disentangling Material, Social, Cognitive, and Cultural Determinants of Human Behavior and Beliefs
In social interactions, human decision-making, attitudes, and beliefs about others coevolve. Their dynamics are affected by cost-benefit considerations, cognitive processes (such as cognitive dissonance, social projecting, and logic constraints), and social influences by peers (via descriptive and injunctive social norms) and by authorities (e.g., educational, cultural, religious, political, administrative, individual or group, real or fictitious). I will describe our attempt to disentangle some of this complexity by using an integrative mathematical modeling and a 35-day online behavioral experiment independently conducted in Spain and China. We utilized the Common Pool Resources game with or without messaging promoting a group-beneficial level of resource extraction. We directly estimated and contrasted the weights of different factors in decision-making and beliefs dynamics. We argue that one can hardly understand social behavior without understanding the dynamics of personal beliefs and beliefs about others and that cognitive, social, material and cultural factors all play important roles in these processes. Our results have implications for understanding and predicting social processes triggered by certain shocks (e.g., social unrest, a pandemic, or a natural disaster) and for designing policy interventions aiming to change behavior (e.g. actions aimed at environment protection or climate change mitigation).