In Search Of… The Wary Student, Part IV: Conclusions

Pack your bags, look to the stars, and prepare to go in search of…


The first, and most important, result of this experiment will be…

… Nobel Prizes in Peace and Economics. However, until that happens…

Findings are expected to be as they are expected to be. If the results of my previous experiment are any guide, what I will actually find is something entirely different.

Rational behavior in the ultimatum game, which is the basic of the wary guerrilla categorization, can be taught. Either prior knowledge (Lusk & Hudson, 2004), repeated tries (Slonim & Roth, 1998) or group deliberation (Robert & Carnevale, 1997) results in more rational behavior. It would be interesting and useful to see if similarly “rational” group behavior can be taught. Tuovinen & Paas (2004) give a quantitative description of teaching efficiency that could show how cognitive load interferes with learning correct decision-making strategies. Likewise, research that shows that self-explanations improve understanding (Chi, de Leeuw, Chiu, & LaVancher, 1994; de Leeuew & Chi, 2003) may be combined with research on rational and moral development (for example, Moshman, 2005) and how technology can be used to increase critical thinking (Dempsey, PytlikZillig, & Bruning, 2005).

Similarly, dynamic task selection allows training to vary by cognitive ability of the learner (Salden, et al., 2004). One could apply cognitive load training to group work and the wary guerrilla game, and discover the best way to train students to interact with one another. This could be combined with variations of the ultimatum game, such as where a third player is absolutely helpless (Oppewal & Tougareva, 1992) or the participant should shrink the size of the pie while still accepting (Andreoni, Castillo, & Petrie, 2003). Besides being intellectually interesting in themselves, these twists provide room for developing ultimatum game expertise within the time constraints of running of an experiment on volunteer undergraduates.

Another question to be asked is how technology can be altered to increase a sense of community. Community-building is a recommended feature of online courses (Horn, PytlikZillig, Bruning, & Kauffman, 2003), and public goods contribution has been found to be positively impacted by video (Kurzban, 2001) and possibly increased by pictorial (Fulwider & Saferstein, 2007) representations. A resource allowing the testing of pictorial representations is readily available at no charge (Minear & Park, 2004), and could easily be added to the experimental design. The author is at an institution which has studied computer-mediated v. face-to-face interaction via commonly used educational software (PytlikZillig, Bruning, Horn, & Bodvarsson, 2005), thus such a study would fit well into the current research.

In The Wary Guerrilla‘s original research on the wary guerrilla, the subject of cultural variability was brought up. Cognitive load effects social behavior in different groups differently, apparently because levels of social automaticity vary by culture (Knowles, Morris, Chiu, & Hong, 2001). Further experimentation has only emphasized the need for such a study. Either work in a foreign country, or with international students at a local university, would be insightful.


In Search Of, a tdaxp series
1. Educational Psychology
2. Load and Behavior
3. Experiments
4. Conclusions
5. Bibliography

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