Our Behavioural Science lab has been instrumental in taking my research to the next level. My recent studies on employer discrimination and gender bias against teachers have benefited from the state-of-the-art testing facility.
Here's why the Lab has ensures my studies are the best they can be.
Put simply, the Behavioural Science Lab gives me access to some of the best tools available.
As probably the best environment to make clean causal inference it has shaped the way I plan and conduct my research in a number of ways because different treatments – or conditions – can be created that differ only in one parameter of interest. This allows you to infer the causal effect of that single change you have made.
Using the Lab benefits my research because it gives me the best of both worlds: the Lab’s artificial environment gives me data that allows for clean causal interpretation that I can then combine with evidence from the field.
I have conducted a number of studies on how people update and change their beliefs when they receive new information. In a recent study I found that people tend to underreact to new information and this can generate labour market discrimination, even if there is no bias or discrimination to begin with.
A lot of my research is on how beliefs are formed in social networks. Do people account for correlation in the information they receive from their network neighbours and to which extent do they account for the fact that the sample of people they interact with is highly selected?
Studying questions like this outside a lab is very difficult as there are so many factors at play which simultaneously impact all these dimensions. Our Lab allows me to isolate certain factors I want to focus on.
Another complication when studying these questions is that people usually choose who they interact with and what information they consume, complicating causal inference. For clean causal inference you usually need some exogenous variation in what information people see. Our Lab allows us to do this quite easily.
University of Essex, University of Essex
Friederike is a Professor of Economics at the University of Essex and a Visiting Guest Professor at the University of Heidelberg. She is also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences (UK). Much of her research is on (Evolutionary) Game Theory and Learning with a particular interest in learning across games and categorization as well as models of (bounded) rationality more generally. Another focus of her research is the study of behaviour in social networks and the emergence of social norms. She also works on social identity, the formation of preferences and discrimination. She received an ERC Starting grant in 2018 for her work on Opinion Dynamics.