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Keeping others in our mind or in our heart? Distribution games under cognitive load

Author

Listed:
  • Karen Evelyn Hauge

    () (Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research)

  • Kjell Arne Brekke

    (University of Oslo)

  • Lars-Olof Johansson

    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Olof Johansson-Stenman

    (University of Gothenburg)

  • Henrik Svedsäter

    (Glaxo Smith Kline)

Abstract

Abstract It has recently been argued that giving is spontaneous while greed is calculated (Rand et al., in Nature 489:427–430, 2012). If greed is calculated we would expect that cognitive load, which is assumed to reduce the influence of cognitive processes, should affect greed. In this paper we study both charitable giving and the behavior of dictators under high and low cognitive load to test if greed is affected by the load. This is tested in three different dictator game experiments. In the dictator games we use both a give frame, where the dictators are given an amount that they may share with a partner, and a take frame, where dictators may take from an amount initially allocated to the partner. The results from all three experiments show that the behavioral effect in terms of allocated money of the induced load is small if at all existent. At the same time, follow-up questions indicate that the subjects’ decisions are more impulsive and less driven by their thoughts under cognitive load.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen Evelyn Hauge & Kjell Arne Brekke & Lars-Olof Johansson & Olof Johansson-Stenman & Henrik Svedsäter, 2016. "Keeping others in our mind or in our heart? Distribution games under cognitive load," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(3), pages 562-576, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:19:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s10683-015-9454-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-015-9454-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Brice Corgnet & Antonio M. Espín & Roberto Hernán-González, 2015. "The cognitive basis of social behavior: cognitive reflection overrides antisocial but not always prosocial motives," Working Papers 15-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Duffy, Sean & Naddeo, JJ & Owens, David & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and mixed strategies: On brains and minimax," MPRA Paper 71878, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. repec:eee:eecrev:v:100:y:2017:i:c:p:463-487 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Allred, Sarah & Duffy, Sean & Smith, John, 2016. "Cognitive load and strategic sophistication," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 162-178.
    5. Gerhardt, Holger & Schildberg-Hörisch, Hannah & Willrodt, Jana, 2017. "Does self-control depletion affect risk attitudes?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 463-487.
    6. repec:gam:jgames:v:8:y:2017:i:3:p:36-:d:109032 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Deck, Cary & Jahedi, Salar, 2015. "The effect of cognitive load on economic decision making: A survey and new experiments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 97-119.
    8. Grossman, Zachary & van der Weele, Joël & Andrijevik, Ana, 2014. "A Test of Dual-Process Reasoning in Charitable Giving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4tm617f7, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dictator game; Charity game; Lab experiment; Cognitive load;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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