Tag Archives: mturk

Influence of religion on altruism

Interesting blog post at “Experimental Turk, A blog on social science experiments on Amazon Mechanical Turk” by Gabriele Paolacci.

David Rand posted on Crowdflower about a great Amazon Mechanical Turk study he recently conducted along with John Horton on altruism (as measured by cooperative behavior on a Prisoner’s Dilemma), that also used religious priming. The authors found that (rearranged from the original post):

1. A majority of Turkers cooperate in a Prisoner’s Dilemma. Thus even in the entirely anonymous and profit-motivated online labor market of AMT, many people still choose to help each other.

2. Reading a religious passage about the important of charity makes religious Turkers more altruistic, but has no effect on Turkers who do not believe in god. This shows that Turkers respond in basically the same way as “normal” lab subjects, and is fairly intuitive. Those who believe in god are receptive to calls for generosity phrased in religious language, while non-believers aren’t.

Using the Web to do Social Science: ICML 2010 Keynote by Duncan Watts

Duncan Watts is principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, where he directs the Human Social Dynamics group.

Although internet-based research still faces serious methodological and procedural obstacles, Duncan proposes that the ability to study truly ‘social’ dynamics at individual-level resolution will have dramatic consequences for social science. To illustrate this, he will describe four examples of research that would have been extremely difficult, or even impossible, to perform just a decade ago:
* Using email exchange to track social networks evolving in time
* Using a web-based experiment to study the collective consequences of social influence on decision making
* Using a social networking site to study the difference between perceived and actual homogeneity of attitudes among friends
* Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to study the incentives underlying ‘crowd sourcing’

Read the interesting report of the talk by Fitzgerald Steele. (via Avesao)