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Ethnic markers and the emergence of group-specific norms: an experiment

Ozaita, J., Baronchelli, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-0255-0829 & Sánchez, A. (2022). Ethnic markers and the emergence of group-specific norms: an experiment. Scientific Reports, 12(1), article number 5068. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-07981-z


Visible markers are an important factor in social interactions. Some researchers have argued that one of their roles is to promote cooperation, but models designed to address this issue have yielded contradictory results. Here we present an experimental study of the effect of visible markers on the emergence of social norms where human subjects play a binary coordination game. Our results do not show different, marker-dependent behaviors. Instead, in practically all sessions participants achieved a global equilibrium disregarding the markers. Our findings suggest that simple markers may have a limited role in promoting the emergence of group-dependent social norms and call for further research investigating the role of markers in more sophisticated social settings.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Publisher Keywords: Human behaviour, Scientific data
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Q Science > QA Mathematics
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Mathematics
SWORD Depositor:
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