Pathfinder-Project Competing on the Holodeck
School of Business and Economics:
Professor Christine Harbring from the Chair of Organization as a Principal Investigator
Professor Christian Grund from the Chair of Human Resource Management and Personnel Economics as a Principal Investigator
Andreas Staffeldt from the Chair of Human Resource Management and Personnel Economics
Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Sciences:
Dr. Bernd Hentschel from the Virtual Reality Group as a Principal Investigator
The project aims at gaining insights into the incentive effects of competition. Experiments that will be conducted in the virtual environment of the aixCAVE allow the researchers to vary the degree of heterogeneity in ability of competing subjects.
Participants obtain a higher payment if they perform better than an avatar, i.e., they compete against the avatar. Implementing this setup in the virtual environment of the aixCAVE allows the researches to ceteris paribus control the performance of the avatar and, thus, get an understanding of the reaction of the subject to the avatar. As the subject is constantly able to observe the avatar´s performance reactions can be observed in a dynamic setting. By modeling an avatar that is observable the researchers may also conclude whether the presence of some other (avatar or human being) has a performance-enhancing effect during the competition compared to a setting, in which subjects know they are competing but are not able to observe the competitor.
Additionally, the heart rate and skin resistance of participants should be measured to include an approximative of emotional arousal in the analysis. This may allow to analyze under which circumstances an extraordinary arousal is induced and how it affects participant´s performance.
The combination of the two technologies, i.e., virtual reality and measurement of physiological parameters enable the researches to conduct experiments of an innovative kind. Both technologies are very new in the field of economic experiments.
We are glad that we can support this new way of analyzing a relevant economic setting and dynamic tournament in a completely new way!