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When Economic Experiments And Cute Animals Collide…

December 12th, 2010 · 7 Comments
Behavioral Econ · Decision Making

I usually make it a point to not post links to economic experiments here, mainly because many of you know too much and therefore would likely screw up the representativeness of the subject pool. (I promise that I mean that as a compliment.) Given my hesitation, there’s really only one thing that could persuade me otherwise…and that thing, ladies and gentlemen, is cute animals. No really, check them out:

Anyway, NPR’s Planet Money blog is running an experiment that involves watching videos of cute animals. I am not too worried about you econ-y types messing up the findings this time, if for no other reason than I can’t figure out what it is that the researchers are trying to test, and my egotistic self figures that if I can’t figure it out then you can’t either. 🙂 Maybe they are looking to see whether economics types have different standards for adorability, who knows. All I know is that baby otters are universally adorable:

A friend pointed out that I should be careful with otters and alerted me as to recent supposed otter attacks in Boca Raton. I contend that a. I would want to attack something too if I were stuck in Boca, and b. historical evidence suggests that I am willing to take my chances on the adorable/evil front.

Tags: Behavioral Econ · Decision Making

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marie // Dec 12, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    So, they don’t take any information from you but ask for your opinion. I wonder what they are trying to discover and why it has anything to do with economics??? BUt I sure liked watching the videos of cute animals and had a hard time making my choice… 🙂

  • 2 Zach // Dec 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    When you click through to the survey, it has at two groups. [redacted by econgirl for the sake of experimental validity]

  • 3 econgirl // Dec 12, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    @ Zach: Shhhhh, you’re gonna ruin the results… =P

  • 4 steve // Dec 12, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    I have heard something similar to this before though in finance, it was about beliefs in value vs what other people value something at; bubbles speculation etc

  • 5 jody // Dec 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I have no idea what they’re aiming for and just voted. I didn’t major in Econ so I don’t know what economists consider cute.

  • 6 Dave // Dec 13, 2010 at 3:13 am

    I didn’t watch the videos (who has that kind of time). I just voted for the animal that was least likely to be used in experiments (the polar bear) because my friends who are biology/medicine/nutrition researchers are always scared that someone is going to find the animals upon which they experiment “cute”.

    They’re actually very scared that rats are becoming common pets and, thus, may soon be considered “cute” and, thus, be disallowed as experimental animals. As it turns out, much of the modern medicine and nutrition that we’re all clamoring for the government to provide to everyone is actually dependent upon various strains of lab rat.

    (On the other hand, my friend who does his research on locusts is not quite so concerned. They’re just fundamentally non-cute. PETA has chosen to ignore him over several times over the years.)

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