A Sound Decision? The Impact of Audio Descriptions on Economic Rationality

Last registered on April 15, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

A Sound Decision? The Impact of Audio Descriptions on Economic Rationality
Initial registration date
January 09, 2024

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
January 09, 2024, 1:26 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
April 15, 2024, 12:11 PM EDT

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.


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Primary Investigator

University of Kent

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Zhejiang University

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial is based on or builds upon one or more prior RCTs.
In our previous experiment (Chen and Guan, 2021), we find a significant detrimental effect of auditory descriptions on economic rationality relative to visual descriptions. This disparity may stem from the tendency of individuals to process auditory information sequentially, as opposed to the simultaneous processing of visual information. In this follow-up experiment, we investigate this potential underlying mechanism by prompting subjects to process auditory and visual information sequentially in a tightly controlled setting. By comparing the economic rationality of the two new treatments, we aim to determine the driving mechanism affecting economic rationality when information is presented either visually or auditorily. If the experiment finds no significant differences between the Visual and Auditory Treatments, it would suggest that the sequential processing of information is the primary factor that leads to lower economic rationality when dealing with auditory descriptions. This would imply that the way information is presented (sequentially or simultaneously) is more critical than the descriptions (audio or visual). Conversely, if the disparity between the two treatments persists, it would suggest that individuals may have a comparatively lower cognitive ability to process auditory information effectively. This would indicate that the description itself plays a significant role, with auditory processing potentially being less conducive to economic rationality than visual processing.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Chen, Fadong and Rui Guan. 2024. "A Sound Decision? The Impact of Audio Descriptions on Economic Rationality." AEA RCT Registry. April 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.12809-1.2
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


In the experiment, there are two treatments: Visual Treatment and Auditory Treatment, where subjects are presented with decision problems in the form of visual and auditory information, respectively. We study between-subjects and within-subjects treatment effects. Specifically, subjects are randomly allocated into Group 1 and Group 2. There are two waves of decisions to make. In the first wave, Group 1 and 2 subjects are asked to make decisions in Visual Treatment and Auditory Treatment, respectively. In the second wave, Group 1 and 2 subjects are asked to make decisions for problems with Auditory Treatment and Visual Treatment, respectively.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The key outcome variables in this experiment are economic rationality measured by the choice data. They include Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preference (GARP) violations, Strong Axiom of Revealed Preference (SARP) violations, Houtman-Maks' index (Houtman and Maks, 1985), Afriat (1967, 1972)’s critical cost efficiency index (CCEI), and first-order stochastic dominance (FOSD). We will compare all consistency scores of individuals under different treatments.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The GARP violations index counts how many combinations of choices violate GARP. SARP differs from GARP by excluding indifference between alternatives in the preference. The Houtman-Maks' index finds the minimal subset of observations that need to be removed from the data to make the remainder rationalizable. The CCEI measures the proportion of income that a person wasted by the choices that violated revealed preference. FOSD violations represent the mistake of losing the chance to gain better outcomes without taking more risks.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcomes encompass participants' response times and search behavior patterns.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We assess the response times that participants take to make decisions across various treatments. Additionally, we analyze their search behavior, including the number of options they consider.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The experiment will be conducted in the Zhejiang University laboratory. We recruit subjects via the sample pool of the Zhejiang University laboratory. The experiment consists of three sections. In the first section, subjects make economic decisions according to their allocated treatment. In the second section, subjects are asked to complete cognitive tasks. In the last section, subjects are asked to indicate their preferences on consistency and report demographic information.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomization will be done by the online survey tool Qualtrics.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
We aim to recruit between 160 and 200 participants.
Sample size: planned number of observations
We aim to recruit between 160 and 200 participants.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
80-100 individuals in the Group 1 and Group 2, respectively.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Academic Ethics Committee at Zhejiang University
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number