Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth-Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games

We conduct laboratory experiments on sender-receiver games with an incentive for senders to exaggerate. Our results show that individual behavior is consistent with a level-k model. Eyetracking shows that senders look more on the payoff rows corresponding to the true state, and senders’ pupils dilate more when their deception is larger in magnitude. Together, these data are consistent with the hypothesis that figuring out how to deceive is cognitively difficult. A combination of sender messages and lookup patterns predicts the true state reasonably accurately, and enables receiver subjects to hypothetically earn up to 16-21 percent more than they actually do.


Joseph Tao-yi Wang, Michael Spezio, and Colin Camerer (2009) ,"Pinocchio's Pupil: Using Eyetracking and Pupil Dilation to Understand Truth-Telling and Deception in Sender-Receiver Games", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 76-78.


Joseph Tao-yi Wang, National Taiwan University, Taiwan
Michael Spezio, California Institute of Technology & Scripss College, USA
Colin Camerer, California Institute of Technology, USA


NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36 | 2009

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