University of Twente Student Theses


The effect of stress on strategic decision-making using the Beauty Contest Game

Bonus, T.R. (2016) The effect of stress on strategic decision-making using the Beauty Contest Game.

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Abstract:Background: The Beauty Contest Game (BCG) is a mathematic strategic decision-making game, which is commonly used to experimentally test strategic decision-making. The aim of this paper was to disentangle the components underlying the decision-making process during BCG and to investigate the impact of stress, as there is striking evidence that stress impairs strategic decision-making. Methods: Stress has been induced using the Sing-a-Song Stress Test 18 minutes before the BCG. The amount of skin conductance responses was used as a physiological measurement of stress; a questionnaire was used to unravel mathematical understanding and strategizing. Results: Neither the outcome of the BCG nor mathematical understanding nor strategizing was significantly influenced by stress. Surprisingly, mathematical understanding tended to enhance under stress. However, this trend was not significant. Conclusion: The outcome of the BCG might not be unambiguously interpretable. Therefore, it is suggested to assess strategizing independently of the BCG outcome. The trend of enhanced mathematical understanding under stress is in line with findings of Pabst and colleagues (2013) which indicated that stress could enhance decision-making when induced 18 minutes pre-task. Although their study did not include strategic decision-making, the present study might suggest that their findings could also hold true for strategic decision-making.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology, 83 economics
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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