Psychology and experimental economics: A gap in abstraction

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Experimental economics and social psychology share an interest in a widening subset of topics, relying on similar lab-based methods to address similar questions about human behavior, yet dialogue between the two fields remains in its infancy. We propose a framework for understanding this disconnect: The different approaches the disciplines take to translating real-world behavior into the laboratory create a "gap in abstraction," which contributes to crucial differences in philosophy about the roles of deception and incentives in experiments and limits cross-pollination. We review two areas of common interest - altruism and group-based discrimination - which demonstrate this gap yet also reveal ways in which the two approaches might be seen as complementary rather than contradictory. Copyright © 2007 Association for Psychological Science.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ariely, D; Norton, MI

Published Date

  • December 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 16 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 336 - 339

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-8721

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-7214

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00531.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus