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Mixed Strategies and Context: Evidence from a lab experiment

Last registered on April 05, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Mixed Strategies and Context: Evidence from a lab experiment
Initial registration date
March 12, 2020

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
March 12, 2020, 6:59 PM EDT

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

Last updated
April 05, 2020, 2:52 AM EDT

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


Primary Investigator

The University of the South

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of East Anglia

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
<Due to COVID-19, our lab experiments had to be cancelled part way through.>

We study the effect of a game’s contextual framing on how subjects play the game in a lab. Subjects play two strategically equivalent games across treatments, namely; hide and seek, and penalty kicks. The games have identical unique Nash equilibria in mixed strategies, with the only difference between them being the context in which the game is presented. We test whether subjects play is closer to theoretical prediction in the penalty kick game, which is a more familiar context for subjects and is closer to games played in the field. Data from past experiments show that while subjects play in accordance with theory in the field, they fail to do so in the lab. Our experiment attempts to determine whether this discrepancy is due to the difference in context between lab and field games. It can also be seen as a test of the underlining assumption of strategic equivalence in games with unique mixed strategy equilibria.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ahmad, Husnain and Sheheryar Banuri. 2020. "Mixed Strategies and Context: Evidence from a lab experiment." AEA RCT Registry. April 05.
Experimental Details


Variation in the level of context in a game.

Full context involves a video game like PK environment, partial context involves descriptions drawn from football, and no context uses de-contextualised hide and seek.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
- Player choices in each round.
- Player set "frequencies" for computer to play multiple rounds on their behalf.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The context of the game will be varied with three levels: no context, written context and visual context.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
In lab with lottery.
Randomization Unit
Individual randomisation for treatment.
Within treatment random matching of players into pairs by computer.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
150 choice of pure strategies per individual. Additionally 4 computer "frequencies" (or mixed strategies) per individual.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Targeted sample size of 200 individuals (100 pairs).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
School of Economics Research Ethics Committee, University of East Anglia
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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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