Chaudhry, S.J. & Klinowski, D. (2016) “Enhancing autonomy to motivate effort: An experiment on the delegation of contract choice.” in Sebastian J. Goerg, John R. Hamman (ed.) Experiments in Organizational Economics (Research in experimental economics, vol 19). Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.141-157. [link]

We investigated whether giving workers autonomy by letting them choose their payment contract intrinsically motivates effort. In contrast to previous work, our design isolated the effect of autonomy by controlling for preferences. We found no difference in effort between agents with autonomy and those without it. Because our novel design feature excludes the possibility that preferences are playing a role, and because workers engaged in a real effort task, this result casts doubt on the practical link between autonomy, per se, and the motivation of employees in the workplace. Our results suggest that workplace incentives might do best by targeting instrumental benefits of autonomy rather than autonomy itself.

Bhatia, S. & Chaudhry, SJ. (2013). The dynamics of anchoring in bidirectional associative memory networks. In Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1899-1904). [link]

In this paper, we leveraged a neurally feasible model to describe the judgment processes underlying the well-known anchoring-and-adjustment heuristic. We specified a network model based on associative memory that was composed of two layers of nodes. Anchors were represented by one of the nodes being “on” at the start of the constraint satisfaction process. We showed that anchors biased how the network settled, mirroring the insufficient adjustment that results from presenting someone with an anchor. We argued that this model could reconcile two conflicting theories as well as provide new testable predictions about judgments in the presence of anchoring.