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Narratives and Valuations (Field)

Last registered on August 09, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Narratives and Valuations
Initial registration date
August 04, 2022

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
August 09, 2022, 2:33 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

University of Pittsburgh

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
While the significance of narrative thinking has become increasingly recognized by social scientists, very
little empirical research has documented its consequences for economically significant outcomes. We address
this gap in one important domain: valuations. In two online experiments, participants selected and uploaded
a picture of an item they owned (mug in study one, hat in study two) without knowing why. They were
then asked to either tell the story of their item or list its characteristics. Finally, participants were given the
opportunity to sell their items to us via an incentive-compatible procedure (Multiple Price List). That is, they
decided whether to accept or reject a series of prices (between $1-100), knowing that one of their decisions
might be randomly selected to be executed. The narrative treatment, which provided no new information,
led to substantially higher selling prices (33% increase) and rates of participants refusing all offered prices
(78% increase). The impact of different narrative and list types (description and acquisition) was also explored.
Finally, participants answered a questionnaire to allow for mechanism analysis.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Loewenstein, George and Dor Morag. 2022. "Narratives and Valuations." AEA RCT Registry. August 09.
Experimental Details


Self-constructed stimuli - Participants were randomized to describe the item they chose in different ways.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness to Accept (WTA) in USD, and unwillingness to sell (refusing to sell at any offered price)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
WTA is the switching price in the MPL

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Fourteen post-MPL questions
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
After submitting their MPL choices, participants answer a set of questions regarding their item and their selling process

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants choose a hat they already owned (not knowing why) and are then randomized to describe and think about it differently. Finally, participants are offered to sell their items to the experimenter, and their willingness to accept (WTA) is elicited through incentivized multiple price lists (where one decision might be randomly selected to count). Finally, participants answer 14 questions regarding their hat.
Experimental Design Details
We manipulate the likelihood of narrative thinking by asking participants to describe their self-selected item with either a story (narrative thinking) or a list (analytical thinking). Thus, participants naturally create their own stimuli in the same way they would in real life. Note that when the item is chosen, participants are blind to the consequences of their choice (i.e., they don't know they'll be offered to sell it).
Randomization Method
Digital randomization for the treatment arms, and a public lottery for the binding decisions in the MPL.
Randomization Unit
The individual is the randomized unit of treatment and control, and individual-decision touple (e.g., subject 104, decision 32) is the randomized unit for the lottery.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
750 participants
Sample size: planned number of observations
750 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
150 acquisition narrative, 150 description narrative, 150 acquisition list, 150 description list, and 150 blank baseline.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Human Judgment and Decision-Making
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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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