A Shift in Focus

It’s gotten to the point where I need to move onto the planning stage of my own study. This does not mean that I am going to stop reading and researching, just devote a little less time to it. Now I wanted to use this blog post to dive into my initial planning and next steps for my own research study.

The main goal of the study will be to see how implicit biases might change the decision making of a person. I’ve narrowed the focus down to race and gender, as I see those to be the two areas that play the largest roles in our society. The hope is that I will get a large enough sample size to have credible data on both. I would have also liked to look into sexuality, but that would require a more complicated setup.

I have not yet chosen what game theory scenario will act as the basis for my study, but I have pinpointed the essential characteristics. Most importantly it needs to be a one-step, two player game. This is so that it will be easy to conduct and repeat the testing and also allow me to control factors to further streamline the data. An important note is that only one of the two players is going to be a participant in the study, while the other will be simulated, most likely through photographs. An important aspect of the scenario is that the participant needs to care how the other player will react, otherwise what they choose could be uncorrelated to the identity of the other player.

Then there is also still the procedure to flesh out. Most of this will be involved with choosing which game theory scenario to use. However, there are other parts I want to add to make sure I can get the best data as possible. Some of this is pretty self-explanatory, such as something to gather data on the participant’s identity. I also want to make sure that the participants have no misunderstandings with how the scenario will work. The easiest way I have seen multiple other studies solve this is by administering a short quiz that tests the participants understanding. I could also use this same short quiz to test how engaged the participants are in the scenario, to avoid those whose complete lack of care or interest might mess with the data.

Spring break is coming up, but that doesn’t mean I have to stop making progress in my independent. The first step will be narrowing it down to a couple of game theory scenarios. From there I will want to mock up the procedure for the game and run it by a few people. That feedback will let me clear up any confusion in my instructions and figure out which scenario is most intuitive. After that I plan to flesh out the surrounding procedure and add any other details I need to. As I continue to develop my procedure I will post my updates on my blog.

Thanks for reading.


For those who want to read some of the studies I have been using:




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3 thoughts on “A Shift in Focus

  1. dexcoengilbert

    Which game theory games are you considering to use in your study? We played some in Econ last year during Senior Projects and each one is so engaging and interesting I’d love to know which you have chosen.

  2. cynthiaruan

    Are you going to be choosing people from Westtown? Do you think it would work better or worse if the test subjects know each other?


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