Do people have accurate beliefs about the behavioral consequences of incidental emotions? Evidence from trust games
The present study examined people’s expectations of how incidental emotions could shape others’ reciprocity in trusting situations, whether these expectations affect people’s own behavior, and how accurate these expectations are. Study 1 explored people’s beliefs about the effects of different incidental emotions on another person’s trustworthiness in general. In Studies 2 and 3, senders in trust games faced angry, guilty, grateful, or emotionally neutral responders. Participants who were told about their counterpart’s emotional state acted consistently with their beliefs about how these emotions would affect the other’s trustworthiness. These beliefs were not always correct, however. There were significant deviations between the expected behavior of angry responders and such responders’ actual behavior. These findings raise the possibility that one player’s knowledge of the other’s emotional state may lead to action choices that yield poor outcomes for both players.
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