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A Cue Utilization Approach for Investigating Harvest Decisions in Commons Dilemmas


Donald W. Hine, Discipline of Psychology, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, 2351 Australia. E-mail:


Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) is introduced as a new tool for investigating decision making in commons dilemmas. University undergraduates (N = 171) managed a virtual fishery, with 2 computer-simulated fishers, over 60 seasons. Level 1 HLM analyses revealed that participants took significantly more fish during seasons when feedback suggested fish stocks, fish value, and fishing expenses were high; and when noncooperative and cooperative others had taken more fish and fewer fish, respectively, in the previous season. Level 2 analyses produced several cross-level interactions, indicating that participants' use of feedback information varied as a function of their social values and environmental attitudes.