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Being of two minds: Ultimatum offers under cognitive constraints

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  • Cappelletti, Dominique
  • Güth, Werner
  • Ploner, Matteo

Abstract

We experimentally investigate how proposers in the Ultimatum Game behave when their cognitive resources are constrained by time pressure and cognitive load. In a dual-system perspective, when proposers are cognitively constrained and thus their deliberative capacity is reduced, their offers are more likely to be influenced by spontaneous affective reactions. We find that under time pressure proposers make higher offers. This increase appears not to be explained by more reliance on an equality heuristic. Analysing the behaviour of the same individual in both roles leads us to favour the strategic over the other-regarding explanation for the observed increase in offers. In contrast, proposers who are under cognitive load do not behave differently from proposers who are not.

Suggested Citation

  • Cappelletti, Dominique & Güth, Werner & Ploner, Matteo, 2011. "Being of two minds: Ultimatum offers under cognitive constraints," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 940-950.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:joepsy:v:32:y:2011:i:6:p:940-950
    DOI: 10.1016/j.joep.2011.08.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Ultimatum Game; Dual-system theories; Time pressure; Cognitive load; Experimental economics;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior

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