Abstract for: Are advice adhered to? Populist versus activist or expert advice.

Laboratory experiments of decision making have revealed widespread misperceptions of nonlinear dynamic systems. A possible criticism of these experiments is that participants do not get the advice they may receive in real situations. Here we repeat one previous experiment where we add two conflicting advice. A 'populist' advice reflects typical misperceptions while a second advice represents a near-to-optimal policy. The latter advice is in the wording of an 'activist' in Treatment 1 and in the wording of an 'expert' in systems analysis in Treatment 2. The results suggest that advice, including near-to-optimal ones, may have minor effects in complex systems. Activist wording seems more effective than expert wording, with the possible exception for participants with a certain background in stock and flow reasoning.