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The anticipatory effect of nonverbal communication

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  • Brook, Rebecca
  • Servátka, Maroš

Abstract

Is nonverbal communication capable of affecting economic outcomes? We study the effect of anticipated approval and disapproval, expressed through emoticons, on generosity and show that it discourages selfish behavior. In our experiment subjects play a one-shot dictator game at the end of which the recipient can respond to the allocation by drawing an emoticon and sending it back to the dictator. While the observed effect of nonverbal communication is somewhat weaker than the anticipation of a verbal response, our results provide evidence that people are willing to trade-off pecuniary gains to avoid disapproval or seek approval of their peers and that the sheer anticipation of receiving a response, even nonverbal, is sufficient to change their behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Brook, Rebecca & Servátka, Maroš, 2016. "The anticipatory effect of nonverbal communication," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 45-48.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolet:v:144:y:2016:i:c:p:45-48
    DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2016.04.033
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Xiao, Erte & Houser, Daniel, 2009. "Avoiding the sharp tongue: Anticipated written messages promote fair economic exchange," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 393-404, June.
    2. Charness, Gary & Dufwenberg, Martin, 2003. "Promises & Partnership," Research Papers in Economics 2003:3, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
    3. Russell Cooper & Douglas V. DeJong & Robert Forsythe & Thomas W. Ross, 1992. "Communication in Coordination Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 739-771.
    4. David Masclet & Charles Noussair & Steven Tucker & Marie-Claire Villeval, 2003. "Monetary and Nonmonetary Punishment in the Voluntary Contributions Mechanism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 366-380, March.
    5. Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The impact of social approval and framing on cooperation in public good situations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1625-1644, July.
    6. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
    7. Blume, Andreas & Ortmann, Andreas, 2007. "The effects of costless pre-play communication: Experimental evidence from games with Pareto-ranked equilibria," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 274-290, January.
    8. Gary Charness & Martin Dufwenberg, 2006. "Promises and Partnership," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(6), pages 1579-1601, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mario Capizzani & Luigi Mittone & Andrew Musau & Antonino Vaccaro, 2017. "Anticipated Communication in the Ultimatum Game," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-20, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Approval; Disapproval; Nonverbal communication; Emotion; Fairness; Generosity;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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