How does the effect of communication vary with group size? Experimental evidence from the multi-player stag hunt


Speaker:Nick Feltovich, Monash University
Date: Tuesday 9 September 2014
Time: 12.00 - 13.00
Location: Matrix Lecture Theatre, Building One

Further details

Numerous studies have examined factors influencing the likelihood of cooperative outcomes in nonzero-sum games, but there has been little study of the interaction between two of the most important: group size and communication. We report results from an experiment in which groups of size between 2 and 15 play a one-shot multi-player stag-hunt game. In our full communication treatment, all group members write a cheap-talk message, with one randomly chosen to be sent. In a choice only treatment, subjects write messages but none is sent, and in a baseline treatment, there are no messages at all. We find a significant negative interaction between the group size and the presence/content of communication: the beneficial effect of communication on cooperation, cooperative outcomes, and payoffs decreases sharply as the group size increases. Our results suggest that care should be taken in generalising conclusions from small-group experiments to large-group settings in the outside world.

A copy of the full paper can be found here: