No place to hide: When shame causes proselfs to cooperate
AbstractShame is often considered a moral emotion with action tendencies shaped by natural selection to elicit socially beneficial behavior. Yet, unlike guilt or other social emotions, prior experimental studies do not indicate that incidental shame boosts prosocial behavior. Based on the affect as information theory, we hypothesize that incidental feelings of shame increase cooperative behavior, but only for self-interested individuals, and only in situations where shame is relevant with regards to its action tendency of avoiding reputation losses. To test this hypothesis, cooperation levels are compared between a classic prisoner’s dilemma (where “defect” may result from multiple motives) and a sequential prisoner’s dilemma (where “defect” is the result of intentional greediness). The results indicate that, as hypothesized, proself individuals cooperate more following incidental shame, but only in a sequential prisoner’s dilemma. Hence ashamed proselfs become inclined to cooperate when they believe they have no way to hide their greediness, and not necessarily because they want to make up for earlier wrong-doing.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Antwerp, Faculty of Applied Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2011018.
Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerpen
Web page: https://www.uantwerp.be/en/faculties/applied-economic-sciences/
More information through EDIRC
Shame; Cooperation; Moral emotions; Prisoner’s dilemma; Affect as information; Social value orientation;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-11-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-CBE-2011-11-21 (Cognitive & Behavioural Economics)
- NEP-EVO-2011-11-21 (Evolutionary Economics)
- NEP-EXP-2011-11-21 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-HPE-2011-11-21 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-MIC-2011-11-21 (Microeconomics)
- NEP-SOC-2011-11-21 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:feb:natura:0059 is not listed on IDEAS
- Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2000.
"A fine is a price,"
Natural Field Experiments, The Field Experiments Website
00258, The Field Experiments Website.
- Gneezy, Uri & Rustichini, Aldo, 2000. "A Fine is a Price," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, January.
- M Bateson & D Nettle & G Roberts, 2006. "Cues of being watched enhance cooperation in a real-world setting," Natural Field Experiments, The Field Experiments Website 00214, The Field Experiments Website.
- Miettinen, T. & Suetens, S., 2008. "Communication and Guilt in a Prisoner's Dilemma," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2008-12, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Christophe Boone & Carolyn Declerck & Toko Kiyonari, 2010. "Inducing Cooperative Behavior among Proselfs versus Prosocials: The Moderating Role of Incentives and Trust," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), Peace Science Society (International), vol. 54(5), pages 799-824, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joeri Nys).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.