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Cooperative Behavior in the Ultimatum Game and Prisoner's Dilemma Depends on Players' Contributions

Bland, AR; Roiser, JP; Mehta, MA; Schei, T; Sahakian, BJ; Robbins, TW; Elliott, R; (2017) Cooperative Behavior in the Ultimatum Game and Prisoner's Dilemma Depends on Players' Contributions. Front. Psychol. , 8 , Article 1017. 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01017. Green open access

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Abstract

Economic games such as the Ultimatum Game (UG) and Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) are widely used paradigms for studying fairness and cooperation. Monetary versions of these games involve two players splitting an arbitrary sum of money. In real life, however, people’s propensity to engage in cooperative behavior depends on their effort and contribution; factors that are well known to affect perceptions of fairness. We therefore sought to explore the impact of relative monetary contributions by players in the UG and PD. Adapted computerized UG and PD games, in which relative contributions from each player were manipulated, were administered to 200 participants aged 18–50 years old (50% female). We found that players’ contribution had large effects on cooperative behavior. Specifically, cooperation was greater amongst participants when their opponent had contributed more to joint earnings. This was manifested as higher acceptance rates and higher offers in the UG; and fewer defects in the PD compared to when the participant contributed more. Interestingly, equal contributions elicited the greatest sensitivity to fairness in the UG, and least frequent defection in the PD. Acceptance rates correlated positively with anxiety and sex differences were found in defection behavior. This study highlights the feasibility of computerized games to assess cooperative behavior and the importance of considering cooperation within the context of effortful contribution.

Type: Article
Title: Cooperative Behavior in the Ultimatum Game and Prisoner's Dilemma Depends on Players' Contributions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01017
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01017
Language: English
Additional information: © 2017 Bland, Roiser, Mehta, Schei, Sahakian, Robbins and Elliott. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Psychology, Multidisciplinary, Psychology, Ultimatum Game, Prisoner's Dilemma, Fairness, Cooperation, Contribution, Sex Differences, Other-Regarding Preferences, Property-Rights, Dictator Games, Fairness, Scale, Sex, Adolescents, Disorders, Responses, Anxiety
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1561821
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