Theory of mind and strategic decision-making

Last registered on May 10, 2018


Trial Information

General Information

Theory of mind and strategic decision-making
Initial registration date
May 09, 2018

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
May 10, 2018, 4:50 PM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

University of Warwick

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
The project aims to use experimental evidence to investigate the relationship between personality type, beliefs about others’ type (sometimes called “theory of mind”) and performance in a series of tasks. The tasks include strategic guessing games where subjects need to guess what their partners will do in advance, and games which involve an element of cooperation. Other tasks include demographic questionnaires, IQ tests, and other psychometric tests.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Sgroi, Daniel. 2018. "Theory of mind and strategic decision-making." AEA RCT Registry. May 10.
Former Citation
Sgroi, Daniel. 2018. "Theory of mind and strategic decision-making." AEA RCT Registry. May 10.
Experimental Details


Subjects are paired up and asked to make decisions in one-shot outcome interdependent games, where, depending on the treatment, they may or may not get to communicate with their partner.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The experimental data will allow us to check if personality type correlates with decision-making, as well as whether guesses about the type of others correlates with decision-making. We will see to what extent these matter in different types of game and to what extent our measures of cognitive ability, empathy and reasoning explain both the accuracy of beliefs and the behaviour in the games. We also plan to see if variables constructed from the text used during the games can explain beliefs and behaviour.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Variables constructed from text will include measures such as inward-orientation, valence, concreteness, arousal, dominance and specific word categories.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
The data will also allow us to check if, while reporting beliefs about their partners, subjects tend to project their own characteristics.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The basic design involves asking subjects to take psycho-metric and personality tests. Depending upon the treatment they may then communicate with each other and are asked to report beliefs about their partners before playing strategic games and undertaking a final questionnaire.
Experimental Design Details
The design involves asking subjects to take the Big 5 personality test and a short Raven’s Progressive Matrices test for cognitive ability. Subjects are paired with another subject and then (depending upon the treatment) there may be the opportunity for them to communicate via short text messages or not. Subjects are then asked to guess the personality type and other characteristics of their partners (such as their cognitive ability). Some games are then described (a simple public goods game and a game which requires them to think about the level of reasoning of their partner: a number guessing game in which they are paid based in part on the number guessed by their partner (Arad, A. & Rubinstein, A., 2012)). Subjects are asked to guess the likely strategy of their partner in these games and then proceed to play the games with their partners. This is followed by tests for empathy (for instance, they are shown pictures of eyes and asked whether these reveal particular moods (Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Hill, J., Raste, Y. & Plumb, I., 2001). The sessions end with a test of risk preferences and some basic demographic questions.
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization is at the level of the experimental session
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clustering.
Sample size: planned number of observations
400 subjects.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 communication, 200 no communication (control)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Internal Department of Economics Approval Process
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials