Wednesday, 9 January 2013

To give or to keep? Affective influences on selfishness and fairness in computer-mediated interactions in the dictator game and the ultimatum game

an article by Joseph P. Forgas and Hui Bing (Tan University of New South Wales, Sydney) published in Computers in Human Behavior Volume 29 Issue 1 (January 2013)


Selfishness vs. fairness are basic dimensions of relating to others, and many computer-mediated communications among young people involve subtle decisions balancing selfishness vs. fairness.

We report five experiments investigating the influence of affect on interpersonal decisions in CMC in strategic games such as the dictator game and the ultimatum game.

In the dictator game, proposers have unlimited power to make selfish or fair allocations.

In the ultimatum game, decisions by proposers are subject to the veto powers of responders.

These experiments predicted and found that negative mood consistently increased, and positive mood reduced concern with the fairness of allocations.

Proposers in a negative mood showed greater fairness and offered more resources to a partner than did those in a positive mood, and such decisions also took longer confirming mood-induced processing differences.

The results are discussed in terms of recent affect-cognition theories, suggesting that positive affect recruits more assimilative, internally focused processing promoting selfishness, while negative affect induces more externally oriented, accommodative thinking and greater concern with social norms.

The implications of the findings for everyday interpersonal behaviours and computer-mediated interactions involving selfishness vs. fairness are considered.

Figures and tables from this article

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