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Friday, October 26, 2012

Give it up

 

Spontaneous giving and calculated greed

David Rand, Joshua Greene & Martin Nowak
Nature, 20 September 2012, Pages 427-430

Abstract:
Cooperation is central to human social behaviour. However, choosing to cooperate requires individuals to incur a personal cost to benefit others. Here we explore the cognitive basis of cooperative decision-making in humans using a dual-process framework. We ask whether people are predisposed towards selfishness, behaving cooperatively only through active self-control; or whether they are intuitively cooperative, with reflection and prospective reasoning favouring ‘rational' self-interest. To investigate this issue, we perform ten studies using economic games. We find that across a range of experimental designs, subjects who reach their decisions more quickly are more cooperative. Furthermore, forcing subjects to decide quickly increases contributions, whereas instructing them to reflect and forcing them to decide slowly decreases contributions. Finally, an induction that primes subjects to trust their intuitions increases contributions compared with an induction that promotes greater reflection. To explain these results, we propose that cooperation is intuitive because cooperative heuristics are developed in daily life where cooperation is typically advantageous. We then validate predictions generated by this proposed mechanism. Our results provide convergent evidence that intuition supports cooperation in social dilemmas, and that reflection can undermine these cooperative impulses.

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Who Really Gives? Partisanship and Charitable Giving in the United States

Michele Margolis & Michael Sances
MIT Working Paper, September 2012

Abstract:
Charitable contributions are the lifeblood of many nonprofit organizations; however, little attention has been paid to how political attitudes affect donations. In this paper, we first show that conservatives and liberals are equally generous in their donation habits. This pattern holds at both the individual and state level, and contradicts the conventional wisdom that partisans differ in their generosity. Second, we show that while levels of giving are roughly equivalent, liberals are much more likely to donate to secular organizations, and conservatives are more likely to donate to religious causes, especially their own congregation. Finally, we examine the dynamic relationship between political control and individual partisanship. We find that charitable contributions fluctuate based on the political landscape: Democrats (Republicans) donate less money when a Republican (Democrat) occupies the White House. Conversely, having a co-partisan in the White House increases the average and total donations to nonprofits at the state level. In addition to furthering our understanding of partisan bias, our findings demonstrate that the results of a presidential election could have significant consequences for nonprofit organizations and the populations they serve.

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Who Gives? Multilevel Effects of Gender and Ethnicity on Workplace Charitable Giving

Lisa Leslie, Mark Snyder & Theresa Glomb
Journal of Applied Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Research on diversity in organizations has largely focused on the implications of gender and ethnic differences for performance, to the exclusion of other outcomes. We propose that gender and ethnic differences also have implications for workplace charitable giving, an important aspect of corporate social responsibility. Drawing from social role theory, we hypothesize and find that gender has consistent effects across levels of analysis; women donate more money to workplace charity than do men, and the percentage of women in a work unit is positively related to workplace charity, at least among men. Alternatively and consistent with social exchange theory, we hypothesize and find that ethnicity has opposing effects across levels of analysis; ethnic minorities donate less money to workplace charity than do Whites, but the percentage of minorities in a work unit is positively related to workplace charity, particularly among minorities. The findings provide a novel perspective on the consequences of gender and ethnic diversity in organizations and highlight synergies between organizational efforts to increase diversity and to build a reputation for corporate social responsibility.

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The donor is in the details

Cynthia Cryder, George Loewenstein & Richard Scheines
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, January 2013, Pages 15-23

Abstract:
Recent research finds that people respond more generously to individual victims described in detail than to equivalent statistical victims described in general terms. We propose that this "identified victim effect" is one manifestation of a more general phenomenon: a positive influence of tangible information on generosity. In three experiments, we find evidence for an "identified intervention effect"; providing tangible details about a charity's interventions significantly increases donations to that charity. Although previous work described sympathy as the primary mediator between tangible information and giving, current mediational analyses show that the influence of tangible details can operate through donors' perception that their contribution will have impact. Taken together with past work, the results suggest that tangible information of many types promotes generosity and can do so either via sympathy or via perceived impact. The ability of tangible information to increase impact points to new ways for charities to encourage generosity.

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Giving from a distance: Putting the charitable organization at the center of the donation appeal

Danit Ein-Gar & Liat Levontin
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Past research has shown repeatedly that people prefer donating to a single identified human victim rather than to unidentified or abstract donation targets. In the current research we show results countering the identifiable victim effect, wherein people prefer to donate to charitable organizations rather than to an identifiable victim. In a series of five studies, we manipulate temporal and social distance, examine a variety of donation targets, and measure intention to donate time or money as well as actual donations of money. We show that people are more willing to donate to a charitable organization when they are temporally or socially distant from the population in need. Willingness to donate to a specific person in need is higher when donors are temporally or socially close to the donation target. Furthermore, we demonstrate that (a) empathy mediates donations to a single victim, yet does not mediate donations to charitable organizations; (b) that donation giving to charitable organizations is unique and is not similar to donations to a group of victims. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Giving to whom? Altruism in different types of relationships

Peter DeScioli & Siddhi Krishna
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Experiments show that people give money away to other people, even when contributions are anonymous. These findings contradict the common economic assumption that people maximize their own payoffs. Here we take the approach that human altruism is shaped by a set of cognitive models for distinct types of relationships. Specifically, we apply relational models theory which distinguishes between communal relationships based on need, authority relationships based on power, and trade relationships based on reciprocity. We test whether relational models theory can explain altruism in the dictator game, a standard method for observing altruism. For each relational model, we manipulate its key variable (need, power, or reciprocity) by varying hypothetical descriptions of the dictator game, while holding constant real monetary incentives. In the communal scenario participants transfer more to recipients with greater need for the resource (Experiment 1), in the authority scenario participants transfer more to recipients who were higher status (Experiment 2), and in the exchange scenario, participants transfer more to recipients who previously delivered goods to the dictator. In sum, we find that relationships, even when hypothetical, strongly affect altruistic behavior - modal dictator contributions range from 0% to 100% - and relational models theory correctly predicts these effects.

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Who Uses Groups to Transcend the Limits of the Individual Self? Exploring the Effects of Interdependent Self-Construal and Mortality Salience on Investment in Social Groups

Clay Routledge et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Terror management theory posits that people identify with and invest in culturally derived social groups, in part, to attach the self to something more permanent than one's physical existence. Accordingly, research demonstrates that reminders of mortality (mortality salience) increase investment in culturally derived in-groups. The current research extends this analysis by examining whether amplified in-group investment following mortality salience is primarily characteristic of people who define the self in terms of social groups (interdependent self-construal). Three studies provided support for this assertion. Mortality salience increased: identification with one's nation among Chinese (high interdependence culture) but not American (low interdependence culture) participants (Study 1); positivity toward one's university for students with high, but not low, interdependent self-construal (Study 2); and willingness to self-sacrifice for one's religious group among participants induced to adopt an interdependent (vs. independent) self-construal (Study 3).

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Adaptation to a new environment allows cooperators to purge cheaters stochastically

Adam James Waite & Wenying Shou
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Cooperation via production of common goods is found in diverse life forms ranging from viruses to social animals. However, natural selection predicts a "tragedy of the commons": Cheaters, benefiting from without producing costly common goods, are more fit than cooperators and should destroy cooperation. In an attempt to discover novel mechanisms of cheater control, we eliminated known ones using a yeast cooperator-cheater system engineered to supply or exploit essential nutrients. Surprisingly, although less fit than cheaters, cooperators quickly dominated a fraction of cocultures. Cooperators isolated from these cocultures were superior to the cheater isolates they had been cocultured with, even though these cheaters were superior to ancestral cooperators. Resequencing and phenotypic analyses revealed that evolved cooperators and cheaters all harbored mutations adaptive to the nutrient-limited cooperative environment, allowing growth at a much lower concentration of nutrient than their ancestors. Even after the initial round of adaptation, evolved cooperators still stochastically dominated cheaters derived from them. We propose the "adaptive race" model: If during adaptation to an environment, the fitness gain of cooperators exceeds that of cheaters by at least the fitness cost of cooperation, the tragedy of the commons can be averted. Although cooperators and cheaters sample from the same pool of adaptive mutations, this symmetry is soon broken: The best cooperators purge cheaters and continue to grow, whereas the best cheaters cause rapid self-extinction. We speculate that adaptation to changing environments may contribute to the persistence of cooperative systems before the appearance of more sophisticated mechanisms of cheater control.

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Constructing Gender Differences in the Lab

Anne Boschini, Astri Muren & Mats Persson
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
We study the effects of experimental design on male and female behavior in a dictator game. Following social identity theory we investigate how experimental procedure may affect outcome through gender priming, i.e., the activation of gender stereotypes specifying that women behave altruistically and men egoistically. We prime subjects by asking them to indicate their gender in a questionnaire, before playing the game. In our experiment, such gender priming is effective (i.e., creates a gender difference in generosity) in gender-mixed environments, but not in single-sex environments. Further, men are more sensitive to priming than women are.

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Charitable Giving When Altruism and Similarity are Linked

Julio Rotemberg
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper presents a model in which anonymous charitable donations are rationalized by two human tendencies drawn from the psychology literature. The first is people's disproportionate disposition to help those they agree with while the second is the dependence of peoples' self-esteem on the extent to which they perceive that others agree with them. Government spending crowds out the charity that ensues from these forces only modestly. Moreover, people's donations tend to rise when others donate. In some equilibria of the model, poor people give little because they expect poor individuals constitute a large fraction of donations and this raises the incentive for poor people to donate. The model provides interpretations for episodes in which the number of charities rises while total donations are stagnant.

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The watching eyes effect in the Dictator Game: it's not how much you give, it's being seen to give something

Daniel Nettle et al.
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In a classic study, Haley and Fessler showed that displaying subtle eye-like stimuli caused participants to behave more generously in the Dictator Game. Since their paper was published, there have been both successful replications and null results reported in the literature. However, it is important to clarify that two logically separable effects were found in their original experiment: watching eyes made the mean donation higher, and also increased the probability of donating something rather than nothing. Here, we report a replication study with 118 participants, in which we found that watching eyes significantly increased the probability of donating something, but did not increase the mean donation. Results did not depend on the sex of the participants or the sex of the eyes. We also present a meta-analysis of the seven studies of watching eye effects in the Dictator Game published to date. Combined, these studies total 887 participants, and show that although watching eyes do not reliably increase mean donations, they do reliably increase the probability of donating something rather than nothing (combined odds ratio 1.39). We conclude that the watching eyes effect in the Dictator Game is robust, but its interpretation may require refinement. Rather than making people directionally more generous, it may be that watching eyes reduce variation in social behavior.

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Building and Rebuilding Trust with Promises and Apologies

Eric Schniter, Roman Sheremeta & Daniel Sznycer
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Using trust games, we study how promises and messages are used to build new trust where it did not previously exist and to rebuild damaged trust. In these games, trustees made non-binding promises of investment-contingent returns, then investors decided whether to invest, and finally trustees decided how much to return. After an unexpected second game was announced, but before it commenced, trustees could send a one-way message. This design allowed us to observe the endogenous emergence and natural distribution of trust-relevant behaviors and focus on naturally occurring remedial strategies used by promise-breakers and distrusted trustees, their effects on investors, and subsequent outcomes. In the first game 16.6% of trustees were distrusted and 18.8% of trusted trustees broke promises. Trustees distrusted in the first game used long messages and promises closer to equal splits to encourage trust in the second game. To restore damaged trust, promise-breakers used apologies and upgraded promises. On average, investments in each game paid off for investors and trustees, suggesting that effective use of cheap signals fosters profitable trust-based exchange in these economies.

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Gender Differences in Trust and Trustworthiness: Individuals, Single Sex and Mixed Sex Groups

Ananish Chaudhuri, Tirnud Paichayontvijit & Lifeng Shen
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We explore gender differences in trust and trustworthiness between male and female individuals and groups consisting of two members of the same sex to understand if single sex groups behave differently from individuals of the same sex. We find some differences in the early rounds such as: (i) all-male (all-female) groups are more trusting than male (female) individuals and (ii) female individuals are most reciprocal compared to other entities. However, such early differences dissipate over time. We find that groups - whether single sex or mixed - behave very similar to each other and that there are little or no significant differences either in trust or trustworthiness between male and female groups. Our results have implications for the study of gender differences in economic transactions.

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The Evolution of Tag-Based Cooperation in Humans: The Case for Accent

Emma Cohen
Current Anthropology, October 2012, Pages 588-616

Abstract:
Recent game-theoretic simulation and analytical models have demonstrated that cooperative strategies mediated by indicators of cooperative potential, or "tags," can invade, spread, and resist invasion by noncooperators across a range of population-structure and cost-benefit scenarios. The plausibility of these models is potentially relevant for human evolutionary accounts insofar as humans possess some phenotypic trait that could serve as a reliable tag. Linguistic markers, such as accent and dialect, have frequently been either cursorily defended or promptly dismissed as satisfying the criteria of a reliable and evolutionarily viable tag. This paper integrates evidence from a range of disciplines to develop and assess the claim that speech accent mediated the evolution of tag-based cooperation in humans. Existing evidence warrants the preliminary conclusion that accent markers meet the demands of an evolutionarily viable tag and potentially afforded a cost-effective solution to the challenges of maintaining viable cooperative relationships in diffuse, regional social networks.

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Would You Mind if I Get More? An Experimental Study of the Envy Game

Sandro Casal et al.
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Envy is often the cause of mutually harmful outcomes. We experimentally study the impact of envy in a bargaining setting in which there is no conflict in material interests: a proposer, holding the role of residual claimant, chooses the size of the pie to be shared with a responder, whose share is exogenously fixed. Responders can accept or reject the proposal, with game types differing in the consequences of rejection: all four combinations of (not) self-harming and (not) other-harming are considered. We find that envy leads responders to reject high proposer claims, especially when rejection harms the proposer. Notwithstanding, maximal claims by proposers are predominant for all game types. This generates conflict and results in a considerable loss of efficiency.

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Trust, Values and False Consensus

Jeffrey Butler, Paola Giuliano & Luigi Guiso
NBER Working Paper, October 2012

Abstract:
Trust beliefs are heterogeneous across individuals and, at the same time, persistent across generations. We investigate one mechanism yielding these dual patterns: false consensus. In the context of a trust game experiment, we show that individuals extrapolate from their own type when forming trust beliefs about the same pool of potential partners - i.e., more (less) trustworthy individuals form more optimistic (pessimistic) trust beliefs - and that this tendency continues to color trust beliefs after several rounds of game-play. Moreover, we show that one's own type/trustworthiness can be traced back to the values parents transmit to their children during their upbringing. In a second closely-related experiment, we show the economic impact of mis-calibrated trust beliefs stemming from false consensus. Miscalibrated beliefs lower participants' experimental trust game earnings by about 20 percent on average.

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Role-Identity Salience, Purpose and Meaning in Life, and Well-Being among Volunteers

Peggy Thoits
Social Psychology Quarterly, forthcoming

Abstract:
Theoretically, the more important a role-identity is to a person, the more it should provide a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Believing one's life to be purposeful and meaningful should yield greater mental and physical well-being. These hypotheses are tested with respect to the volunteer role, specifically, Mended Hearts visitor, in which former heart patients visit current heart patients and their families in the hospital. Analyses of survey data from Mended Hearts visitors (N = 458) confirm that a sense of meaningful, purposeful life mediates the positive influences of role-identity salience on mental and physical health. The results hint at an unfolding process: the more time spent in volunteer activities, the more important the volunteer identity. The greater the identity importance, the more one perceives one matters to other people, which in turn enhances purpose and meaning. The more life seems purposeful and meaningful, the better one's well-being.

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Mortality Salience Increases Personal Relevance of the Norm of Reciprocity

Simon Schindler, Marc-André Reinhard & Dagmar Stahlberg
Psychological Reports, October 2012, Pages 565-574

Abstract:
Research on terror management theory found evidence that people under mortality salience strive to live up to salient cultural norms and values, like egalitarianism, pacifism, or helpfulness. A basic, strongly internalized norm in most human societies is the norm of reciprocity: people should support those who supported them (i.e., positive reciprocity), and people should injure those who injured them (i.e., negative reciprocity), respectively. In an experiment (N = 98; 47 women, 51 men), mortality salience overall significantly increased personal relevance of the norm of reciprocity (M = 4.45, SD = 0.65) compared to a control condition (M = 4.19, SD = 0.59). Specifically, under mortality salience there was higher motivation to punish those who treated them unfavourably (negative norm of reciprocity). Unexpectedly, relevance of the norm of positive reciprocity remained unaffected by mortality salience. Implications and limitations are discussed.

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Are Conservatives Less Likely to be Prosocial Than Liberals? From Games to Ideology, Political Preferences and Voting

Paul Van Lange et al.
European Journal of Personality, September/October 2012, Pages 461-473

Abstract:
Do political preferences reflect individual differences in interpersonal orientations? Are conservatives less other-regarding than liberals? On the basis of past theorising, we hypothesised that, relative to individuals with prosocial orientations, those with individualistic and competitive orientations should be more likely to endorse conservative political preferences and vote for conservative parties. This hypothesis was supported in three independent studies conducted in Italy (Studies 1 and 2) and the Netherlands (Study 3). Consistent with hypotheses, a cross-sectional study revealed that individualists and competitors endorsed stronger conservative political preferences than did prosocials; moreover, this effect was independent of the association between need for structure and conservative political preferences (Study 1). The predicted association of social value orientation and voting was observed in both a four-week (Study 2) and an eight-month (Study 3) longitudinal study. Taken together, the findings provide novel support for the claim that interpersonal orientations, as measured with experimental games rooted in game theory, are important to understanding differences in ideology at the societal level.

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Who do you trust? The impact of facial emotion and behaviour on decision making

Timothy Campellone & Ann Kring
Cognition & Emotion, forthcoming

Abstract:
During social interactions, we use available information to guide our decisions, including behaviour and emotional displays. In some situations, behaviour and emotional displays may be incongruent, complicating decision making. This study had two main aims: first, to investigate the independent contributions of behaviour and facial displays of emotion on decisions to trust, and, second, to examine what happens when the information being signalled by a facial display is incongruent with behaviour. Participants played a modified version of the Trust Game in which they learned simulated players' behaviour with or without concurrent displays of facial emotion. Results indicated that displays of anger, but not happiness, influenced decisions to trust during initial encounters. Over the course of repeated interactions, however, emotional displays consistent with an established pattern of behaviour made independent contributions to decision making, strengthening decisions to trust. When facial display and behaviour were incongruent, participants used current behaviour to inform decision making.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM