The emergence of salience: an experimental investigation

Federica Alberti, Shaun Hargreaves-Heap, Robert Sugden

Research output: Working paper


In this experiment, individuals recurrently play coordination games that are similar to, but not identical with, one another. Initially, subjects are no more successful than if they had acted at random, but coordination rates gradually increase to levels similar to those found in one-shot games with "obvious" focal points. Subjects seem to coordinate by choosing actions that are similar to ones that have previously been successful. This leads to the emergence of different similarity conventions – interpretable as different conceptions of salience – in different groups of players. We present a simple model of learning which organizes our main findings.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of East Anglia
Number of pages40
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

Publication series

NameWorking Paper Series, Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science
PublisherUniversity of East Anglia


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