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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Naughty or nice

 

What you don't know won't hurt you: A laboratory analysis of betrayal aversion

Jason Aimone & Daniel Houser
Experimental Economics, December 2012, Pages 571-588

Abstract:
Recent research argues "betrayal aversion" leads many people to avoid risk more when a person, rather than nature, determines the outcome of uncertainty. However, past studies indicate that factors unrelated to betrayal aversion, such as loss aversion, could contribute to differences between treatments. Using a novel experiment design to isolate betrayal aversion, one that varies how strategic uncertainty is resolved, we provide rigorous evidence supporting the detrimental impact of betrayal aversion. The impact is substantial: holding fixed the probability of betrayal, the possibility of knowing that one has been betrayed reduces investment by about one-third. We suggest emotion-regulation underlies these results and helps to explain the importance of impersonal, institution-mediated exchange in promoting economic efficiency.

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Detecting the Trustworthiness of Novel Partners in Economic Exchange

David DeSteno et al.
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Because trusting strangers can entail high risk, an ability to infer a potential partner's trustworthiness would be highly advantageous. To date, however, little evidence indicates that humans are able to accurately assess the cooperative intentions of novel partners by using nonverbal signals. In two studies involving human-human and human-robot interactions, we found that accuracy in judging the trustworthiness of novel partners is heightened through exposure to nonverbal cues and identified a specific set of cues that are predictive of economic behavior. Employing the precision offered by robotics technology to model and control humanlike movements, we demonstrated not only that experimental manipulation of the identified cues directly affects perceptions of trustworthiness and subsequent exchange behavior, but also that the human mind will utilize such cues to ascribe social intentions to technological entities.

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You Owe Me

Ulrike Malmendier & Klaus Schmidt
NBER Working Paper, November 2012

Abstract:
In many cultures and industries gifts are given in order to influence the recipient, often at the expense of a third party. Examples include business gifts of firms and lobbyists. In a series of experiments, we show that, even without incentive or informational effects, small gifts strongly influence the recipient's behavior in favor of the gift giver, in particular when a third party bears the cost. Subjects are well aware that the gift is given to influence their behavior but reciprocate nevertheless. Withholding the gift triggers a strong negative response. These findings are inconsistent with the most prominent models of social preferences. We propose an extension of existing theories to capture the observed behavior by endogenizing the "reference group" to whom social preferences are applied. We also show that disclosure and size limits are not effective in reducing the effect of gifts, consistent with our model. Financial incentives ameliorate the effect of the gift but backfire when available but not provided.

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Are social preferences related to market performance?

Andreas Leibbrandt
Experimental Economics, December 2012, Pages 589-603

Abstract:
This paper combines laboratory with field data from professional sellers to study whether social preferences are related to performance in open-air markets. The data show that sellers who are more pro-social in a laboratory experiment are also more successful in natural markets: They achieve higher prices for similar quality, have superior trade relations and better abilities to signal trustworthiness to buyers. These findings suggest that social preferences play a significant role for outcomes in natural markets.

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Are women more generous than men? Evidence from the US Consumer Expenditure Survey

Chu-Ping Lo & Sanae Tashiro
Journal of Gender Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper examines how gender, age, education, income, race, and ethnicity affect giving behaviors using the 2006 US Consumer Expenditure Survey. The testable hypotheses are based on theories of human capital and social capital. The research suggests that gender differences in philanthropic behavior are non-existent. Education, annual income, wealth, and being Hispanic increase the probability of giving, but they had no effect on the amount gifted. It is estimated that age and race interact with gender to affect differences in giving - older women are more likely than younger men to donate but give smaller shares of their income, while white women, black women, and Asian women are less likely to donate and give smaller amounts than men of 'other' races.

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Neural and behavioral bases of age differences in perceptions of trust

Elizabeth Castle et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
Older adults are disproportionately vulnerable to fraud, and federal agencies have speculated that excessive trust explains their greater vulnerability. Two studies, one behavioral and one using neuroimaging methodology, identified age differences in trust and their neural underpinnings. Older and younger adults rated faces high in trust cues similarly, but older adults perceived faces with cues to untrustworthiness to be significantly more trustworthy and approachable than younger adults. This age-related pattern was mirrored in neural activation to cues of trustworthiness. Whereas younger adults showed greater anterior insula activation to untrustworthy versus trustworthy faces, older adults showed muted activation of the anterior insula to untrustworthy faces. The insula has been shown to support interoceptive awareness that forms the basis of "gut feelings," which represent expected risk and predict risk-avoidant behavior. Thus, a diminished "gut" response to cues of untrustworthiness may partially underlie older adults' vulnerability to fraud.

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Harsh childhood environmental characteristics predict exploitation and retaliation in humans

Michael McCullough et al.
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, 7 January 2013

Abstract:
Across and within societies, people vary in their propensities towards exploitative and retaliatory defection in potentially cooperative interaction. We hypothesized that this variation reflects adaptive responses to variation in cues during childhood that life will be harsh, unstable and short - cues that probabilistically indicate that it is in one's fitness interests to exploit co-operators and to retaliate quickly against defectors. Here, we show that childhood exposure to family neglect, conflict and violence, and to neighbourhood crime, were positively associated for men (but not women) with exploitation of an interaction partner and retaliatory defection after that partner began to defect. The associations between childhood environment and both forms of defection for men appeared to be mediated by participants' endorsement of a 'code of honour'. These results suggest that individual differences in mutual benefit cooperation are not merely due to genetic noise, random developmental variation or the operation of domain-general cultural learning mechanisms, but rather, might reflect the adaptive calibration of social strategies to local social-ecological conditions.

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Two Key Steps in the Evolution of Human Cooperation: The Interdependence Hypothesis

Michael Tomasello et al.
Current Anthropology, December 2012, Pages 673-692

Abstract:
Modern theories of the evolution of human cooperation focus mainly on altruism. In contrast, we propose that humans' species-unique forms of cooperation - as well as their species-unique forms of cognition, communication, and social life - all derive from mutualistic collaboration (with social selection against cheaters). In a first step, humans became obligate collaborative foragers such that individuals were interdependent with one another and so had a direct interest in the well-being of their partners. In this context, they evolved new skills and motivations for collaboration not possessed by other great apes (joint intentionality), and they helped their potential partners (and avoided cheaters). In a second step, these new collaborative skills and motivations were scaled up to group life in general, as modern humans faced competition from other groups. As part of this new group-mindedness, they created cultural conventions, norms, and institutions (all characterized by collective intentionality), with knowledge of a specific set of these marking individuals as members of a particular cultural group. Human cognition and sociality thus became ever more collaborative and altruistic as human individuals became ever more interdependent.

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Goodwill hunting? Debates over the 'meaning' of Lower Palaeolithic handaxe form revisited

Penny Spikins
World Archaeology, Fall 2012, Pages 378-392

Abstract:
There has been intense debate over the 'meaning' of Lower Palaeolithic handaxe form. Handaxes date from about 1.7 million years onwards, and many show attention to elements of form such as symmetry and a conformity to the 'golden ratio' which go beyond immediate function. Our challenge in interpreting such patterning is that we cannot assume a 'modern' cognition to the makers of Acheulian handaxes nor capacities to negotiate concepts such as status or symbolism. Existing interpretations of handaxe form have been dominated by the seminal 'sexy handaxe theory' (Kohn and Mithen, Antiquity, 1999, 73: 518-26), which envisaged the production of handaxes as driven by sexual selection processes common to all mammal species. By contrast, it is argued here that an emerging concern with reputation building seen amongst higher primates developed within highly collaborative Acheulian societies into a concern with 'trustworthiness' and the expression of 'gestures of goodwill' to others via handaxe form.

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Accuracy in discrimination of self-reported cooperators using static facial information

Anthony Little et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

Abstract:
People readily ascribe personality traits to others and believe that faces hold important guides to character. Here we examined the relationship between static facial appearance and self-reported cooperation/defection using the prisoner's dilemma (N = 193). Study 1 combined face images of those self-reporting they would be most and least likely to cooperate. The composites of cooperators were seen as more cooperative than non-cooperators. Study 2 demonstrated accuracy with ratings of individual faces. Masculinity of face shape was negatively related to self-reported cooperation for men, but not women. Further, ratings of smile intensity were positively, but not significantly, related to self-reported cooperation. Overall, individuals appear able judge the potential of others to cooperate from static facial appearance alone at rates greater than chance.

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Does Facial Resemblance Enhance Cooperation?

Trang Giang, Raoul Bell & Axel Buchner
PLoS ONE, October 2012

Abstract:
Facial self-resemblance has been proposed to serve as a kinship cue that facilitates cooperation between kin. In the present study, facial resemblance was manipulated by morphing stimulus faces with the participants' own faces or control faces (resulting in self-resemblant or other-resemblant composite faces). A norming study showed that the perceived degree of kinship was higher for the participants and the self-resemblant composite faces than for actual first-degree relatives. Effects of facial self-resemblance on trust and cooperation were tested in a paradigm that has proven to be sensitive to facial trustworthiness, facial likability, and facial expression. First, participants played a cooperation game in which the composite faces were shown. Then, likability ratings were assessed. In a source memory test, participants were required to identify old and new faces, and were asked to remember whether the faces belonged to cooperators or cheaters in the cooperation game. Old-new recognition was enhanced for self-resemblant faces in comparison to other-resemblant faces. However, facial self-resemblance had no effects on the degree of cooperation in the cooperation game, on the emotional evaluation of the faces as reflected in the likability judgments, and on the expectation that a face belonged to a cooperator rather than to a cheater. Therefore, the present results are clearly inconsistent with the assumption of an evolved kin recognition module built into the human face recognition system.

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The agencies method for coalition formation in experimental games

John Nash et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
In society, power is often transferred to another person or group. A previous work studied the evolution of cooperation among robot players through a coalition formation game with a non-cooperative procedure of acceptance of an agency of another player. Motivated by this previous work, we conduct a laboratory experiment on finitely repeated three-person coalition formation games. Human players with different strength according to the coalition payoffs can accept a transfer of power to another player, the agent, who then distributes the coalition payoffs. We find that the agencies method for coalition formation is quite successful in promoting efficiency. However, the agent faces a tension between short-term incentives of not equally distributing the coalition payoff and the long-term concern to keep cooperation going. In a given round, the strong player in our experiment often resolves this tension approximately in line with the Shapley value and the nucleolus. Yet aggregated over all rounds, the payoff differences between players are rather small, and the equal division of payoffs predicts about 80% of all groups best. One reason is that the voting procedure appears to induce a balance of power, independent of the individual player's strength: Selfish subjects tend to be voted out of their agency and are further disciplined by reciprocal behaviors.

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Corporate Sponsorships May Hurt Nonprofits: Understanding their Effects on Charitable Giving

Christine Bennett, Hakkyun Kim & Barbara Loken
Journal of Consumer Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
While prior research suggests that corporate sponsorship can positively affect consumers' perceptions of sponsors, little research to date has investigated the impact of such sponsorships on an individual's willingness to support nonprofits. This paper investigates the psychological processes that underlie whether and how corporate sponsorship impacts an individual's willingness to support nonprofit organizations and suggests that unintended negative outcomes may emerge. Specifically, results from five studies suggest that exposure to sponsorship information can reduce prospective donors' willingness to support a nonprofit because people believe their individual contributions will matter less. In addition, this research identifies a potential mechanism (i.e., donor-company identification) that can mitigate these negative effects.

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What makes a sanction "stick"? The effects of financial and social sanctions on norm compliance

Rob Nelissen & Laetitia Mulder
Social Influence, Winter 2013, Pages 70-80

Abstract:
The present research shows that, like financial sanctions, social punishment (the mere expression of disapproval with another person's conduct) induces compliance with norms for cooperation in a social dilemma. More importantly, after removing the sanctioning opportunity levels of cooperation decrease more under former financial than under former social sanctioning systems. Hence social sanctions are more effective than financial sanctions at inducing "sticky" norms that guide behavior even in the absence of punishment cues. Public policy implications are discussed.

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Oxytocin Motivates Non-Cooperation in Intergroup Conflict to Protect Vulnerable In-Group Members

Carsten De Dreu et al.
PLoS ONE, November 2012

Abstract:
Intergroup conflict is often driven by an individual's motivation to protect oneself and fellow group members against the threat of out-group aggression, including the tendency to pre-empt out-group threat through a competitive approach. Here we link such defense-motivated competition to oxytocin, a hypothalamic neuropeptide involved in reproduction and social bonding. An intergroup conflict game was developed to disentangle whether oxytocin motivates competitive approach to protect (i) immediate self-interest, (ii) vulnerable in-group members, or (iii) both. Males self-administered oxytocin or placebo (double-blind placebo-controlled) and made decisions with financial consequences to themselves, their fellow in-group members, and a competing out-group. Game payoffs were manipulated between-subjects so that non-cooperation by the out-group had high vs. low impact on personal payoff (personal vulnerability), and high vs. low impact on payoff to fellow in-group members (in-group vulnerability). When personal vulnerability was high, non-cooperation was unaffected by treatment and in-group vulnerability. When personal vulnerability was low, however, in-group vulnerability motivated non-cooperation but only when males received oxytocin. Oxytocin fuels a defense-motivated competitive approach to protect vulnerable group members, even when personal fate is not at stake.

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Power corrupts cooperation: Cognitive and motivational effects in a double EEG paradigm

Riam Kanso et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study investigated the effect of interpersonal power on cooperative performance. We used a paired EEG paradigm: pairs of participants performed an attention task, followed by feedback indicating monetary loss or gain on every trial. Participants were randomly allocated to the power-holder, subordinate, or neutral group by creating different levels of control over how a joint monetary reward would be allocated. We found that power was associated with reduced behavioural accuracy. Event-related potential (ERP) analysis showed that powerholders devoted less motivational resources to their targets than did subordinates or neutrals, but did not differ at the level of early conflict detection. Their feedback potential results showed a greater expectation of rewards, but reduced subjective magnitude attributed to losses. Subordinates, on the other hand, were asymmetrically sensitive to power-holders' targets. They expected fewer rewards, but attributed greater significance to losses. Our study shows that power corrupts balanced cooperation with subordinates.

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Justice, Charity, and Disaster Relief: What, If Anything, Is Owed to Haiti, Japan, and New Zealand?

Laura Valentini
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract:
Whenever fellow humans suffer due to natural catastrophes, we have a duty to help them. This duty is not only acknowledged in moral theory but also expressed in ordinary people's reactions to phenomena such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and earthquakes. Despite being widely acknowledged, this duty is also widely disputed: some believe it is a matter of justice, others a matter of charity. Although central to debates in international political theory, the distinction between justice and charity is hardly ever systematically drawn. To fill this gap in the literature, I consider three accounts of this distinction - the "agent-based," the "recipient-based," and the "mixed" view - and argue that they are all unsatisfactory. I then offer a fourth alternative, the "autonomy" view, which successfully overcomes the difficulties affecting its rivals. I conclude by considering the implications of this view for the moral grounds of disaster relief in earthquake-stricken Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan.

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Information, irrationality, and the evolution of trust

Michael Manapat, Martin Nowak & David Rand
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, forthcoming

Abstract:
Trust is a central component of social and economic interactions among humans. While rational self-interest dictates that "investors" should not be trusting and "trustees" should not be trustworthy in one-shot anonymous interactions, behavioral experiments with the "trust game" have found that people are both. Here we show how an evolutionary framework can explain this seemingly irrational, altruistic behavior. When individuals' strategies evolve in a context in which (1) investors sometimes have knowledge about trustees before transactions occur and (2) trustees compete with each other for access to investors, natural selection can favor both trust and trustworthiness, even in the subset of interactions in which individuals interact anonymously. We investigate the effects of investors having "fuzzy minds" and making irrationally large demands, finding that both improve outcomes for investors but are not evolutionarily stable. Furthermore, we often find oscillations in trust and trustworthiness instead of convergence to a socially optimal stable equilibrium, with increasing trustworthiness preceeding trust in these cycles. Finally, we show how "partner choice," or competition among trustees in small group settings, can lead to arbitrarily equitable distributions of the game's proceeds. To complement our theoretical analysis, we performed a novel behavioral experiment with a modified version of the trust game. Our evolutionary framework provides an ultimate mechanism - not just a proximate psychological explanation - for the emergence of trusting behavior and can explain why trust and trustworthiness are sometimes stable and other times unstable.

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Young Children Are More Generous When Others Are Aware of Their Actions

Kristin Leimgruber et al.
PLoS ONE, October 2012

Abstract:
Adults frequently employ reputation-enhancing strategies when engaging in prosocial acts, behaving more generously when their actions are likely to be witnessed by others and even more so when the extent of their generosity is made public. This study examined the developmental origins of sensitivity to cues associated with reputationally motivated prosociality by presenting five-year-olds with the option to provide one or four stickers to a familiar peer recipient at no cost to themselves. We systematically manipulated the recipient's knowledge of the actor's choices in two different ways: (1) occluding the recipient's view of both the actor and the allocation options and (2) presenting allocations in opaque containers whose contents were visible only to the actor. Children were consistently generous only when the recipient was fully aware of the donation options; in all cases in which the recipient was not aware of the donation options, children were strikingly ungenerous. These results demonstrate that five-year-olds exhibit "strategic prosociality," behaving differentially generous as a function of the amount of information available to the recipient about their actions. These findings suggest that long before they develop a rich understanding of the social significance of reputation or are conscious of complex strategic reasoning, children behave more generously when the details of their prosocial actions are available to others.

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When do people cooperate? The neuroeconomics of prosocial decision making

Carolyn Declerck, Christophe Boone & Griet Emonds
Brain and Cognition, February 2013, Pages 95-117

Abstract:
Understanding the roots of prosocial behavior is an interdisciplinary research endeavor that has generated an abundance of empirical data across many disciplines. This review integrates research findings from different fields into a novel theoretical framework that can account for when prosocial behavior is likely to occur. Specifically, we propose that the motivation to cooperate (or not), generated by the reward system in the brain (extending from the striatum to the ventromedial prefrontal cortex), is modulated by two neural networks: a cognitive control system (centered on the lateral prefrontal cortex) that processes extrinsic cooperative incentives, and/or a social cognition system (including the temporo-parietal junction, the medial prefrontal cortex and the amygdala) that processes trust and/or threat signals. The independent modulatory influence of incentives and trust on the decision to cooperate is substantiated by a growing body of neuroimaging data and reconciles the apparent paradox between economic versus social rationality in the literature, suggesting that we are in fact wired for both. Furthermore, the theoretical framework can account for substantial behavioral heterogeneity in prosocial behavior. Based on the existing data, we postulate that self-regarding individuals (who are more likely to adopt an economically rational strategy) are more responsive to extrinsic cooperative incentives and therefore rely relatively more on cognitive control to make (un)cooperative decisions, whereas other-regarding individuals (who are more likely to adopt a socially rational strategy) are more sensitive to trust signals to avoid betrayal and recruit relatively more brain activity in the social cognition system. Several additional hypotheses with respect to the neural roots of social preferences are derived from the model and suggested for future research.

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Regulatory Focus and Interdependent Economic Decision-Making

Jun Gu, Vanessa Bohns & Geoffrey Leonardelli
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Traditional theories of self-interest cannot predict when individuals pursue relative and absolute economic outcomes in interdependent decision-making, but we argue that regulatory focus (Higgins, 1997) can. We propose that a concern with security (prevention focus) motivates concerns with social status, leading to the regulation of relative economic outcomes, but a concern with growth (promotion focus) motivates the maximization of opportunities, leading to a focus on absolute outcomes. Two studies supported our predictions; regardless of prosocial or proself motivations, a promotion focus yielded greater concern with absolute outcomes, but a prevention focus yielded greater concern with relative outcomes. Also, Study 3 revealed that a prevention focus led to a greater rejection of a negative relative but positive absolute outcome in an ultimatum game because of concerns with status. This research reveals that apparently opposing orientations to interdependence - equality and relative gain - serve the same self-regulatory purpose: the establishment of security.

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Rejection of unfair offers in the ultimatum game is no evidence of strong reciprocity

Toshio Yamagishi et al.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, forthcoming

Abstract:
The strong reciprocity model of the evolution of human cooperation has gained some acceptance, partly on the basis of support from experimental findings. The observation that unfair offers in the ultimatum game are frequently rejected constitutes an important piece of the experimental evidence for strong reciprocity. In the present study, we have challenged the idea that the rejection response in the ultimatum game provides evidence of the assumption held by strong reciprocity theorists that negative reciprocity observed in the ultimatum game is inseparably related to positive reciprocity as the two sides of a preference for fairness. The prediction of an inseparable relationship between positive and negative reciprocity was rejected on the basis of the results of a series of experiments that we conducted using the ultimatum game, the dictator game, the trust game, and the prisoner's dilemma game. We did not find any correlation between the participants' tendencies to reject unfair offers in the ultimatum game and their tendencies to exhibit various prosocial behaviors in the other games, including their inclinations to positively reciprocate in the trust game. The participants' responses to postexperimental questions add support to the view that the rejection of unfair offers in the ultimatum game is a tacit strategy for avoiding the imposition of an inferior status.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM