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Minimal social cues in the dictator game

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Author Info

  • Rigdon, Mary
  • Ishii, Keiko
  • Watabe, Motoki
  • Kitayama, Shinobu

Abstract

Giving to others is individually costly, yet generates benefits to the recipient. Such altruistic behavior has been well documented in experimental games between unrelated, anonymous individuals. Matters of social distance between giver and receiver, or between giver and a potential bystander, are also known to be relevant to giving behavior. This paper reports results of an experiment manipulating an extremely weak social cue in the dictator game. Prior to making their decision, we present dictators with a simple visual stimulus: either three dots in a "watching-eyes" configuration, or three dots in a neutral configuration. The watching-eyes configuration is suggestive of a schematic face - a stimuli that is known to weakly activate the fusiform face area of the brain. Our results demonstrate that such a weak social cue does increase giving behavior - even under a double-blind protocol - and this difference in behavior across treatments is entirely explained by differences in the dictator behavior of males.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Psychology.

Volume (Year): 30 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 358-367

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Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:30:y:2009:i:3:p:358-367

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/joep

Related research

Keywords: C91 D03 D64 Experimental economics Dictator game Generosity Social distance Social cues;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Axel Franzen & Sonja Pointner, 2013. "Giving according to preferences: Decision-making in the group dictator game," University of Bern Social Sciences Working Papers 2, University of Bern, Department of Social Sciences, revised 24 Jan 2014.
  2. Christoph Engel, 2011. "Dictator games: a meta study," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 583-610, November.
  3. Duffy, John & Kornienko, Tatiana, 2010. "Does competition affect giving?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 74(1-2), pages 82-103, May.
  4. Roi Zultan, 2011. "Strategic And Social Preplay Communication In The Ultimatum Game," Working Papers 1107, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  5. Zizzo, Daniel John, 2013. "Claims and confounds in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 186-195.
  6. Vanessa Mertins & Susanne Warning, 2013. "Gender Differences in Responsiveness to a Homo Economicus Prime in the Gift-Exchange Game," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201309, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
  7. Diane Reyniers & Richa Bhalla, 2013. "Reluctant altruism and peer pressure in charitable giving," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(1), pages 7-15, January.
  8. Dreber, Anna & Ellingsen, Tore & Johannesson, Magnus & Rand, David, 2011. "Do People Care about Social Context? Framing Effects in Dictator Games," Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 738, Stockholm School of Economics.
  9. Rigdon, Mary L. & Levine, Adam Seth, 2009. "The Role of Expectations and Gender in Altruism," MPRA Paper 19372, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  12. Levati, M. Vittoria & Nicholas, Aaron & Rai, Birendra, 2014. "Testing the single-peakedness of other-regarding preferences," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 197-209.
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  15. Burnham, Terence C., 2013. "Toward a neo-Darwinian synthesis of neoclassical and behavioral economics," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(S), pages S113-S127.
  16. Heinrich, Timo & Weimann, Joachim, 2013. "A note on reciprocity and modified dictator games," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 202-205.

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