AIER Visiting Research Fellow Mary Jane Arneaud’s work began in Trinidad and Fiji, where she discovered in her psychological research that a strong ethnic identity correlated with lower social wellbeing. Arneaud developed a research proposal: an experiment to cultivate social bonds across ethnic identities through sharing autobiographical memories, then measuring the strength of those newly formed bonds in economic trust games.
After sharing, she explains “People should be more willing to invest more money in somebody from an outgroup than people in the control group who did not share memories.”
But, Ms. Arneaud goes on to say, “I’m a psychologist, not an economist.” So her work brought her to AIER as a Visiting Research Fellow, where she refined her research proposal and strengthened her economic literacy. “To me it’s much more exciting to measure social wellbeing with this economic game, rather than having people filling out a social wellbeing questionnaire. To see their actual behavior — does it actually change their behavior when they are playing with real money.” As people all over the world explore the issues of ethnic and national identities, globalization, and immigration, AIER is proud to have aided Ms. Arneaud’s efforts toward clarity, social wellbeing, and prosperity.