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The communication of anger and disappointment helps to establish cooperation through indirect reciprocity

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  • Wubben, Maarten J.J.
  • Cremer, David De
  • Dijk, Eric van
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    Abstract

    Indirect reciprocity is cooperation through reputation: third parties cooperate with those known to cooperate and defect against those known to defect. Defection, then, can have the unjust motive of greed or the just motive of retaliation. To establish cooperation, observers should distinguish both motives for defection and respond more cooperatively to the latter. We propose that the expression of emotions may facilitate this inferential process. Indeed, in two laboratory studies participants inferred that defection out of anger or disappointment was a just response to a defector and they responded more cooperatively than when no emotion was communicated. Moreover, participants inferred that defectors who evoked disappointment instead of anger had a relatively positive reputation. We conclude that emotions help establish cooperation through indirect reciprocity.

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    Bibliographic Info

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

    Volume (Year): 32 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 3 (June)
    Pages: 489-501

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:3:p:489-501

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

    Related research

    Keywords: Reciprocity Expressed emotion Anger Disappointment Reputation 3020 C71;

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    References

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    1. Georg Kirchsteiger & Martin Dufwenberg, 2004. "A theory of sequential reciprocity," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5899, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    4. Gary Bolton & Jordi Brandts & Axel Ockenfels, 1998. "Measuring Motivations for the Reciprocal Responses Observed in a Simple Dilemma Game," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 207-219, December.
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    7. Charness, Gary B, 2004. "Attribution And Reciprocity In An Experimental Labor Market," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt8rp6b18c, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    8. Ronald Bosman & Frans van Winden, 2002. "Emotional Hazard in a Power-to-take Experiment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 147-169, January.
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    11. Bolton, Gary E. & Katok, Elena & Ockenfels, Axel, 2005. "Cooperation among strangers with limited information about reputation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(8), pages 1457-1468, August.
    12. Offerman, Theo, 2002. "Hurting hurts more than helping helps," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1423-1437, September.
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    14. M.A. Nowak & K. Sigmund, 1998. "Evolution of Indirect Reciprocity by Image Scoring/ The Dynamics of Indirect Reciprocity," Working Papers ir98040, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.
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