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ERIC Number: EJ931844
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 77
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
Predicting Behavior in Economic Games by Looking through the Eyes of the Players
Mellers, Barbara A.; Haselhuhn, Michael P.; Tetlock, Philip E.; Silva, Jose C.; Isen, Alice M.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v139 n4 p743-755 Nov 2010
Social scientists often rely on economic experiments such as ultimatum and dictator games to understand human cooperation. Systematic deviations from economic predictions have inspired broader conceptions of self-interest that incorporate concerns for fairness. Yet no framework can describe all of the major results. We take a different approach by asking players directly about their self-interest--defined as what they want to do (pleasure-maximizing options). We also ask players directly about their sense of fairness--defined as what they think they ought to do (fairness-maximizing options). Player-defined measures of self-interest and fairness predict (a) the majority of ultimatum-game and dictator-game offers, (b) ultimatum-game rejections, (c) exiting behavior (i.e., escaping social expectations to cooperate) in the dictator game, and (d) who cooperates more after a positive mood induction. Adopting the players' perspectives of self-interest and fairness permits better predictions about who cooperates, why they cooperate, and when they punish noncooperators. (Contains 1 table, 8 figures and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A