Article

Effects of eye images on everyday cooperative behavior: A field experiment

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  • Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris-PSL
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Abstract

Laboratory studies have shown that images of eyes can cause people to behave more cooperatively in some economic games, and in a previous experiment, we found that eye images increased the level of contributions to an honesty box. However, the generality and robustness of the eyes effect is not known. Here, we extended our research on the effects of eye images on cooperative behavior to a novel context—littering behavior in a university cafeteria—and attempted to elucidate the mechanism by which they work, by displaying them both in conjunction with, and not associated with, verbal messages to clear one's litter. We found a halving of the odds of littering in the presence of posters featuring eyes, as compared to posters featuring flowers. This effect was independent of whether the poster exhorted litter clearing or contained an unrelated message, suggesting that the effect of eye images cannot be explained by their drawing attention to verbal instructions. There was some support for the hypothesis that eye images had a larger effect when there were few people in the café than when the café was busy. Our results confirm that the effects of subtle cues of observation on cooperative behavior can be large in certain real-world contexts.

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... We contribute to these literatures by examining whether norms and decision observability can foster voluntary donations (a form of costly support) to promote local development of renewable energy generation. We also explore whether the two factors interact in influencing decisions, which has only been examined in a handful of studies (e.g., Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Bateson et al., 2013;Vesely and Klöckner, 2018), despite the intuitive appeal of the notion that people become more norm-compliant when others can observe them and can thus potentially sanction non-compliance. ...
... Similarly, the power of norms may depend on contextual factors such as behavior costs (Andersson and von Borgstede, 2010;Sudarshan, 2017;Drews et al., 2020), perceived threat to the self (Fritsche et al., 2010), and decision observability (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Bateson et al., 2013;Vesely and Klöckner, 2018; see also Andreoni and Bernheim, 2009;Jones and Linardi, 2014;Schram and Charness, 2015 for related studies with a focus other than environmental behavior). In their quasi-experimental study, Vesely and Klöckner (2018) found that when exposing participants to pro-environmental social norms, participants were more likely to follow the norms when their decisions (whether and how much to donate to an environmental organization) were observable to others, compared to when donation decisions were made privately and anonymously. ...
... In their quasi-experimental study, Vesely and Klöckner (2018) found that when exposing participants to pro-environmental social norms, participants were more likely to follow the norms when their decisions (whether and how much to donate to an environmental organization) were observable to others, compared to when donation decisions were made privately and anonymously. In contrast, Ernest- Jones et al. (2011) and Bateson et al. (2013) found no evidence for an interaction between norms and observability in the context of littering behavior. Other studies (e.g. ...
Article
This paper shows that interventions based on social norms and on increasing the visibility of people's decisions to others (“decision observability”) present promising pathways of generating public support for renewable energy development. In a laboratory experiment (n = 300), we show that social norms and decision observability increase support for renewable energy, even at a financial cost to oneself: When exposed to pro-environmental social norms, participants donated 35% more money to an existing renewable energy initiative than participants in the control condition (Cohen's d = 0.35). Participants whose decisions were observable to others donated 23% more compared to control (d = 0.23). And participants exposed to both treatments (their decisions being observed by others and learning about norms) donated 69% more compared to control (d = 0.67). In addition, our treatments had a positive effect on participants' post-decisional emotions of happiness and pride, which partly alleviates existing concerns about possible adverse side-effect of social influence interventions. Suggestions for policy makers and for future research in this area are presented.
... Still comparing the effect of these flowers images as control to those of eye images, other studies have found similar prosocial effects during everyday events. For example, eye images had prosocial effects such as cooperation for the clearing of trays in a university cafeteria (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011) and for waste sorting at a bus stop (Francey and Bergmüller, 2012). Similar results were found in experiments in more specific contexts such as blood donations: While eye images on flyers did not result in differences in pledge with a logo as control, more "real" donations were made by students who got the flyers with eyes image (Sénémeaud et al., 2017). ...
... Would the images discourage or encourage them to cross at the red light? These questions were chosen with caution in order to make the questionnaire valid and are based on previous studies (Bateson et al., 2013;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Francey and Bergmüller, 2012;Saeed et al., 2020). We compared their answers to these questions with sociodemographic variables (gender, age, geographical zone and city size) and also with a previous well-known questionnaire called 'Pedestrian Behavior Questionnaire' (hereafter referred to as PBQ, Appendix A: Deb et al., 2017;Granié et al., 2013), which tested the propensity of pedestrians to violate rules, make errors or lapses, or show positive or aggressive behaviors. ...
Article
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Human behavior is influenced by the presence of others, which scientists also call 'the audience effect'. The use of social control to produce more cooperative behaviors may positively influence road use and safety. This study uses an online questionnaire to test how eyes images affect the behavior of pedestrians when crossing a road. Different eyes images of men, women and a child with different facial expressions-neutral, friendly and angry-were presented to participants who were asked what they would feel by looking at these images before crossing a signalized road. Participants completed a questionnaire of 20 questions about pedestrian behaviors (PBQ). The questionnaire was received by 1,447 French participants, 610 of whom answered the entire questionnaire. Seventy-one percent of participants were women, and the mean age was 35 ± 14 years. Eye images give individuals the feeling they are being observed at 33%, feared at 5% and surprised at 26%, and thus seem to indicate mixed results about avoiding crossing at the red light. The expressions shown in the eyes are also an important factor: feelings of being observed increased by about 10-15% whilst feelings of being scared or inhibited increased by about 5% as the expression changed from neutral to friendly to angry. No link was found between the results of our questionnaire and those of the Pedestrian Behavior Questionnaire (PBQ). This study shows that the use of eye images could reduce illegal crossings by pedestrians, and is thus of key interest as a practical road safety tool. However, the effect is limited and how to increase this nudge effect needs further consideration.
... The mere presence of a picture of eyes can exert an influence on human behavior because the brain naturally reacts in specific ways to images of faces and eyes. It has been established by previous research that, when people feel they are being observed, they tend to cooperate and comply with social regulations (Bateson et al., 2006;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Nettle et al., 2012). People behave differently when they believe that they are being observed because they are anxious about others' opinions of them. ...
... We examined the effectiveness of an image of baby eyes to promote hand-hygiene compliance in a clinical setting. To summarize, building on previous literature that a picture of adult eyes can promote cooperation regarding hand hygiene (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Pfattheicher & Keller, 2015;Powell et al., 2012), this study investigated whether a picture of baby eyes can produce the same result. Specifically, we manipulated the hand-hygiene environment by placing an image of a pair of baby eyes above four non-surgical washing sinks in a hospital. ...
Article
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This double-blind field study tested the effectiveness of a baby-eyes image in promoting healthcare workers’ hand-hygiene compliance in a hospital setting. Adults are inclined to take care of babies and aspire to be their role models; therefore, they should wash their hands thoroughly when being watched by babies. Participants were healthcare workers from the obstetrical and neonatology units of a women’s hospital in Hangzhou. We recorded and coded 3,360 hours and 10,325 hand-hygiene events over a five-week period—from 16 October to 20 November 2018. Three types of stickers, depicting baby eyes, adult eyes, or flowers, were placed above handwashing basins to compare hand-hygiene behavior between the three conditions. Each condition continued for one week, and experimenters interchanged the stickers in each unit to control for the location and sequence effects. Participants in the baby-eyes condition (72.9%) were more likely to use sanitizer than those in the flowers condition (69.4%; χ ² = 9.74, p < .01, φ c = 0.034). Moreover, participants in the baby-eyes condition were more likely to use sanitizer than those in the adult-eyes condition (70.8%); however, the difference only trended towards significance ( χ ² = 2.38, p = .066, φ c = 0.023). The mean handwashing time between the three conditions was significant (Welch’s F(2, 3488.436) = 3.50, p < .05, η ² = 0.001). Washing time in the baby-eyes condition (17.41 ± 12.02) was significantly longer than in the adult-eyes condition (16.36 ± 11.47; p < .05). The presence of a baby-eyes image promoted hand-hygiene compliance in the hospital environment. This finding can be adopted to change public health behaviors. It also holds theoretical implications that enhance our understanding of how being monitored by children can enhance responsible behaviors.
... In practice, charity organizations also have taken different approaches; while some charity organizations, such as Waterdrop Fundraising, may choose to show the eyes of recipients in their campaigns, some other organizations (e.g., Tencent Welfare and Alipay's Donation platforms) may decide to intentionally cover the eyes of potential recipients for their privacy. Some research (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Oda et al., 2011;Ekström, 2012) has investigated the effects of eye contact with eye images on consumer behaviors. For example, Oda et al. (2011) found that even an eye-like painting could also enhance expectation of consumers of a good reputation. ...
... For example, Oda et al. (2011) found that even an eye-like painting could also enhance expectation of consumers of a good reputation. And displaying eye images could cause people to engage in cooperative behavior (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011). Furthermore, Ekström (2012) suggested that eye contact can effectively enhance donation intentions. ...
Article
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Both happy and sad facial expressions of recipients are frequently used in charity advertisements. However, the relative effectiveness of these two types of facial expressions has been found paradoxical in the past. In this study, we examine when happy facial expression can more effectively increase donation intentions of consumers and when vice versa. Specially, we propose that eye contact between a donor and a potential recipient may moderate the relative effectiveness of happy and sad facial expressions, and further explain the interaction effect from the perspective of emotional intensity. Results from two experiments suggest that, when donor-recipient eye contact is present, consumers tend to have stronger emotional intensity, and, in turn, show higher donation intentions when the recipient is with a happy rather than sad facial expression. In contrast, when the eye contact is absent, consumers may show stronger emotional intensity and donation intentions toward the charity advertisement with a recipient showing sad rather than happy expression.
... verwendet, nur manche Studien nutzen sowohl weibliche als auch männliche Augenpaare(Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Francey & Bergmüller, 2012), untersuchen diesen Umstand jedoch nicht dezidiert. Außerdem wurde das Augenpaar farbig belassen, um möglichst realistisch zu wirken und keinen künstlichen Unterschied zu den anderen Maßnahmen-Plakaten herzustellen. ...
... Einzeln getestet führen von allen Maßnahmen die beobachtenden Augen in einigen Berechnungen statistisch signifikant zu mehr Sauberkeit. Somit bestätigt dieses Feldexperiment eine große Anzahl von Vorgängerstudien(Bateson et al., 2015;Dear et al., 2019;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011) und zeigt zum ersten Mal, dass die Augen auch in Müllbereichen funktionieren können. Ein Unterschied zwischen Maßnahmen, die auf extrinsischer und intrinsischer Motivation basieren, wird kurzfristig nicht gefunden.Die Ergebnisse zum langfristigen Effekt zeigen wieder, dass System-1-Maßnahmen besser als informative auf Bewusstsein setzende System-2-Maßnahmen funktionieren, allerdings nicht in allen Berechnungsvarianten robust. ...
Experiment Findings
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Unclean waste disposal areas resulting from littering are a source of unease to residents and create significant cleaning costs. The aim of this study was to develop behavioral-economic interventions to reduce littering based on a field experiment in around 400 waste disposal areas (frequented by more than 70.000 people). Four interventions in the form of posters were developed in line with behavioral-economic and psychological principles. These posters were designed to evoke fast and automatic responses (system 1), or slower and more deliberative ones (system 2). System-1 posters presented watching eyes and images of nature whereas system-2 posters displayed information on financial consequences of incorrect waste disposal and explanatory pictograms. Short-term (48 hours) and long-term (seven weeks) effects of these interventions were explored based on pictures taken from the floor in a pre-post-design including a control condition. Results revealed a high level of average cleanliness in the waste disposal areas. However, outdoor areas were cleaner than indoor areas. The relative amount of waste in the containers and the size of the residential complexes correlated positively with uncleanliness. Results indicate that system-1 interventions (eyes, nature) are more likely to improve cleanliness than system-2 interventions (financial consequences, pictograms). Nonetheless, because of the high level of overall cleanness, no poster lead to better results than the control condition. Possibly, people perceive system-2 interventions as authoritarian and respond to them negatively, while system-1 interventions are an implicit reminder to dispose waste correctly. In this report, practical implications, theoretical and methodological contributions, and limitations are discussed. A short video on the project is also available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yJ7CJJZoNo
... It is possible then that the salience of eye closures may affect potential adopters more than other eye narrowing movements. This is supported by the human literature that shows that the eyes play an important role in influencing human behaviour in a number of contexts [33][34][35]. For example, eyes that are made visually explicit can enhance the likelihood of altruistic behaviour in humans [35]. ...
... This is supported by the human literature that shows that the eyes play an important role in influencing human behaviour in a number of contexts [33][34][35]. For example, eyes that are made visually explicit can enhance the likelihood of altruistic behaviour in humans [35]. Humans may therefore be inadvertently influenced by eye closures but not other, more subtle, eye narrowing movements. ...
Article
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The process of domestication is likely to have led to the development of adaptive interspecific social abilities in animals. Such abilities are particularly interesting in less gregarious animals, such as cats. One notable social behaviour that cats exhibit in relation to humans is the slow blink sequence, which our previous research suggests can function as a form of positive communication between cats and humans. This behaviour involves the production of successive half blinks followed by either a prolonged narrowing of the eye or an eye closure. The present study investigates how cat (n = 18) slow blink sequences might affect human preferences during the adoption of shelter cats. Our study specifically tested (1) whether cats’ propensity to respond to human-initiated slow blinking was associated with their speed of rehoming from a shelter environment, and (2) whether cats’ anxiety around humans was related to their tendency to slow blink. Our experiments demonstrated that cats that showed an increased number of and longer eye closures in response to human slow blinks were rehomed faster, and that nervous cats, who had been identified as needing desensitisation to humans, tended to spend more time producing slow blink sequences in response to human slow blinks than a non-desensitisation group. Collectively, these results suggest that the cat slow blink sequence is perceived as positive by humans and may have a dual function—occurring in both affiliative and submissive contexts.
... This finding contradicts other studies that show that cooperative societies have a positive and significant impact on poverty reduction by creating jobs, empowering women, and stabilizing markets [20,30,35,62,69,79,93,109,115,128] & [47]. Other research has found that cooperative societies contribute insignificantly to food security and poverty reduction because of heterogeneous membership, organizational management, passive participation, lack of trust among members, equal dividend sharing regardless of the level of participation, and other issues [41]; Andrew, 2001; [46,65]. ...
Article
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Background Food security is a critical issue and a top priority in the policies of developing countries. The objectives of this study were to analyze the status of rural food security, determine the factors affecting rural family food security, and identify the coping methods used by rural households in the study area. Methods A cross-sectional study design was used in the present study. The study was conducted from March to June 2021. Overall, 143 households from three rural Kebeles were chosen using a stratified random sampling technique. Both primary and secondary data were gathered. Descriptive statistics and economic regression models were used. To identify the factors that influence the food security of rural households, a binary logistic regression model was developed. Results Less than a third of the households (29.4%) were found to be food secure, while households (70.6%) were found to be food insecure. The estimated logistic model outcome on household food security confirmed the size of the family and drought occurrence affected negatively in 1% and 5% probability levels, respectively, while education, size of farm land, TLU, total annual cereal yields, on-farm income, off-farm income, use of agricultural input, and use of credits affect positively. Expect the use of credit (5%), all are statically significant at the 1% probability level. Withdrawing children from school (1st) and Beginning (2nd) food secure/insecure households, respectively, practices are the main coping methods used by the household. Conclusion According to the results of the model, approximately ten explanatory variables had a statistically significant relationship with household food security. Food insecure household heads are more familiar with the coping strategy than food secured. Households in the study area were relying on preferred foods to deal with food scarcity and starvation. The government agent should be households treated differently depending on the issue raised.
... Nudges have been used in almost every kind of human interaction to encourage one behaviour over another (Thaler, Sunstein, & Balz, 2013). Nudges include incrementally closer perpendicular lines on the road, which encourage drivers to slow down before they get to a sharp corner (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008), or a pair of eyes on the wall of an examination room, which increases honesty in a coffee shop or reduce littering (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Bateson et al., 2013). By definition, a nudge is any aspect of the choice architecture that alters people's behaviour in a predictable way, a key point being that the aspect must not forbid any option or significantly change their economic incentives (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008). ...
Thesis
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Existing attempts to elucidate one's level of engagement with and attitude towards urban wildlife are primarily focused on a single species of flora or fauna and multiple species data are lacking. To achieve a more comprehensive understanding of perceptions of wildlife, I built and tested a measurement tool adopting both quantitative and qualitative methods: The Urban Wildlife Coexistence and Attitudes Scale (UWCAS). Two versions of the survey were administered to residents of the cities of Lethbridge, Calgary, and Red Deer (N= 1362). The results indicated that UWCAS (Version 2) is a psychometrically valid tool that elucidates the attitudes that residents hold toward wildlife. Overall, urban residents scored high on their willingness to coexist with and tolerate wild urban plants and animals. Further research could involve the collaboration with city planners and wildlife management groups to highlight species and habitats that could increase the health, happiness and well-being of residents.
... Signs have been shown to be effective deterrents for antisocial behaviour such as littering [14]; however, littering continues to be a problem within the collection despite the presence of signage. Research has shown that including a brief explanation as to why a behaviour is prohibited and the addition of 'watching eyes' images can increase the efficacy of signage but will not completely eliminate the antisocial behaviour [15] and may increase the incidence of other 'displacement' behaviours which may also be antisocial [16]. The presence of litter bins has been shown to decrease littering; however, the design and positioning of the litter bin as well as associated signage may have a significant impact on their use [17,18]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Plastic waste has become a hot topic in sustainability and conservation, helped in part by popular documentaries which have highlighted the issue to the general public. Much of the current literature focuses on the effect of microplastics in the marine environment, with very little information on macroplastic interactions or the terrestrial environment. In this report, the management of digit constriction due to macroplastic debris in a Verreaux’s eagle owl (Bubo lacteus) is presented, and the role of zoos in decreasing littering behaviour both within the collection and in the wider global context is discussed.
... We found that informing participants about nondeceptive environments leads to less dishonesty and that when deception is allowed and participants are aware of being observed, then honesty increases. Consequently, this echoes previous theoretical accounts (Ayal et al., 2015) and ndings (Zhong et al., 2010;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Nettle et al., 2012;Pfattheicher & Keller, 2015;Schild et al., 2019) that cues of being observed (i.e., anonymity or visibility; see Abeler et al., 2019) decrease cheating, which suggests that participants are more skeptical about their anonymity when experiencing experimental deception. [1] For a review on social norms as both psychological states and collective constructs and on how social norms inform action-oriented decision-making, see Legros & Cislaghi, 2020. ...
Preprint
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Psychologists, economists, and philosophers have long argued that in environments where deception is normative, moral behavior is harmed. In this article, we show that individuals making decisions within deceptive environments do not behave more dishonestly than in nondeceptive environments. We demonstrate the latter using an example of experimental deception within established institutions, such as laboratories and institutional review boards. Specifically, we first find meta-analytical evidence suggesting that experiencing deception at the laboratory level yields lower dishonesty. However, such evidence is correlational only. We therefore experimentally manipulated whether participants received information about their deception. Across three well-powered studies, we empirically demonstrate that deceptive environments do not affect downstream dishonest behavior. However, when participants were in a deceptive environment and aware of being observed, their dishonest behavior decreased. Our results show that the relationship between deception and dishonesty is more complicated than previous interpretations have suggested and expand the understanding how deception might affect moral behavior.
... Further, the current study extends the watching eye effect to the CMC, by using a watching eye icon as a visual cue for an imagined audience. Most studies of watching eye effects have been performed in offline environments (Bateson, Nettle, and Roberts 2006;Ernest-Jones, Nettle, and Bateson 2011;Ayal, Celse, and Hochman 2019) and, to the best of our knowledge, the present study is first to investigate it in online communication. The watching eye effect indicates that people can control their behaviour simply because of the presence of eye pictures (Haley and Fessler 2005), and a number of previous studies addressed that eyeshaped images could reduce ethical dissonance and enhance moral behaviours (Bateson, Nettle, and Roberts 2006;Dear, Dutton, and Fox 2019;Ayal, Celse, and Hochman 2019). ...
Article
The watching-eye effect proposes that others’ eyes cause people to behave in a prosocial manner. The current study tested this in the context of an online news website, by investigating whether a watching-eye icon influences users’ attention to themselves and expressions of their opinions in a comment section. In an online experiment, participants (N = 741) used an online news website in the presence (vs. absence) of a watching eye as a visual cue for an imagined audience, who reportedly presented their opinions in a comment section. Results showed that the watching eye did influence participants’ private and public self-awareness and the quality of their comments. Presence of the visual cues, compared to its absence, increased female participants’ self-awareness, specifically when others’ opinions revealed in the comment section were mixed or opposed to the news article topic. This increased private self-awareness was positively associated with the comment quality. These findings indicate the importance of social cues on interfaces in mitigating the negative consequences of anonymity in online environments.
... Although the results were identical for letters and faces in the previous study, we decided to keep it in the design and the analysis. Based on research in moral psychology (Bateson et al., 2006;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Haley & Fessler, 2005;Krátký et al., 2016), feelings of being monitored and a presence of agency cues increase moral behavior. We, therefore, predicted that loading WM with faces might generate more honest responses than loading WM with letters due to the presence of agency elicited by the face stimuli. ...
Article
Though human social interaction in general seems effortless at times, successful engagement in collaborative or exploitative social interaction requires the availability of cognitive resources. Research on Dual-Process suggests that two systems, the affective (non-reflective) and the cognitive (reflective), are responsible for different types of reasoning. Nevertheless, the evidence on which system leads to what type of behavioral outcome, in terms of prosociality, is at best contradicting and perplexing. In the present paper, we examined the role of the two systems, operationalized as working memory depletion, in prosocial decision-making. We hypothesize that the nature of the available cognitive resources could affect whether humans engage in collaborative or exploitative social interaction. Using Operation Span to manipulate the availability of working memory, we examined how taxing the cognitive system affects cooperation and cheating. In two experiments, we provide evidence that concurrent load, but not cumulative load is detrimental to cooperation, whereas neither concurrent nor cumulative load seems to affect cheating behavior. These findings are in contrast to several previous assumptions. We discuss limitations, possible explanations, and future directions.
... ,Burnham and Hare 2007, Ernest-Jones et al. 2011, Haley and Fessler 2005, Nettle et al. 2012, though it must be noted that this body of literature is heavily embroiled in psychology's replication crisis(Dear et al. 2019). This parallels the arguments ofLerner and Tetlock (2003, p. 433), who write: ...
Chapter
The study of subjective wellbeing has grown substantially in recent decades and is now seeking to influence public policy. The complexities of this new application have revealed weaknesses in the foundations of the field. Its operationalist epistemology was appropriate given its historical context, but undermines its ability to explain the mechanisms by which policy can improve subjective wellbeing. Likewise, the field’s deliberate avoidance of the evaluative element of “wellbeing”—what is “good for” somebody—leaves it poorly equipped to engage with the ethical and political complexities of policymaking. The present volume provides the theoretical depth that the field of subjective wellbeing is lacking by integrating psychological, philosophical, economic, and political perspectives on wellbeing. The end result is a rich and ethically sensitive theory of subjective wellbeing that can underpin scholarly research, inform therapy and self-help, and guide wellbeing public policy
... ,Burnham and Hare 2007, Ernest-Jones et al. 2011, Haley and Fessler 2005, Nettle et al. 2012, though it must be noted that this body of literature is heavily embroiled in psychology's replication crisis(Dear et al. 2019). This parallels the arguments ofLerner and Tetlock (2003, p. 433), who write: ...
Chapter
How do you measure a construct as complex as subjective wellbeing? The first part of this chapter reviews the many tools available for measuring each dimension of the construct, as well as the well-being profile—a new measure that holds some promise for capturing subjective wellbeing holistically in only fifteen questions. The second part of the chapter then explains why even fifteen questions is likely too long for many applications in policy and social science. Life satisfaction scales hold a great deal of promise as a unidimensional and sufficiently cardinal measure of subjective wellbeing for these applications. However, there are several concerns about these scales, notably inconsistent scale use across respondents or within respondents over time, that need to be investigated more thoroughly. The chapter provides a conceptual analysis of these concerns and uses them to differentiate adaptation, scale-norming, and reference point shifts.
... ,Burnham and Hare 2007, Ernest-Jones et al. 2011, Haley and Fessler 2005, Nettle et al. 2012, though it must be noted that this body of literature is heavily embroiled in psychology's replication crisis(Dear et al. 2019). This parallels the arguments ofLerner and Tetlock (2003, p. 433), who write: ...
Chapter
Eudaimonic accounts of wellbeing have a rich and storied history in philosophy and psychology. This chapter opens with an explanation of the similarities and differences between these theories. The rest of the chapter focuses on psychological perspectives, especially that of self-determination theory. This body of psychological literature provides an enormous amount of insight into the nature of subjective wellbeing, especially how to get it. The chapter reviews the most important of these approaches, namely the ones focusing on basic psychological needs, the motivation spectrum, the notion of self-concordant goals, and the evolutionary underpinnings of our psychological makeup.
... ,Burnham and Hare 2007, Ernest-Jones et al. 2011, Haley and Fessler 2005, Nettle et al. 2012, though it must be noted that this body of literature is heavily embroiled in psychology's replication crisis(Dear et al. 2019). This parallels the arguments ofLerner and Tetlock (2003, p. 433), who write: ...
Chapter
The purpose of this chapter is twofold. First, to review philosophical arguments against wellbeing theories of the sort I have outlined. This should hopefully sensitize subjective wellbeing scholars to the ethical nuances of applying subjective wellbeing outside the context of academic research. Ethical critiques of subjective wellbeing are especially potent when it is government rather than friends or therapists trying to promote it. This is the second purpose of the chapter: to argue that government should be very cautious about promoting subjective wellbeing directly. They should instead focus on welfare—the options available to citizens. The final part of the chapter discusses ways to begin applying subjective wellbeing in public policy without crossing ethical risky red lines.
... ,Burnham and Hare 2007, Ernest-Jones et al. 2011, Haley and Fessler 2005, Nettle et al. 2012, though it must be noted that this body of literature is heavily embroiled in psychology's replication crisis(Dear et al. 2019). This parallels the arguments ofLerner and Tetlock (2003, p. 433), who write: ...
Chapter
While subjective well-being scholarship has its merits, it is not without its weaknesses, and these are the subject of this chapter. While the definition and approach of the field were appropriate in its historical context, they are inappropriate and indeed problematic for applications in public policy. In particular, this chapter demonstrates that the field is naive about the normative implications of “wellbeing” theories and that its measurement instruments lack precision. Both of these faults find their origins in the field’s atheoretic inclinations and operationalist epistemology. It is time to replace this with a more realist epistemology. That requires a thorough theory of subjective wellbeing that engages extensively with normativity, which this book provides.
... ,Burnham and Hare 2007, Ernest-Jones et al. 2011, Haley and Fessler 2005, Nettle et al. 2012, though it must be noted that this body of literature is heavily embroiled in psychology's replication crisis(Dear et al. 2019). This parallels the arguments ofLerner and Tetlock (2003, p. 433), who write: ...
Book
The study of “subjective wellbeing” has seen explosive growth in recent decades, opening important new discourses in personality and social psychology, happiness economics, and moral philosophy. Now it is moving into the policy domain. In this it has arguably overstepped its limits. The shallow theoretical base of subjective wellbeing research, the limitations of its measurement instruments, and its ethical naivety make policymaking on the basis of its findings a risky venture. The present volume is an attempt to shore up these weaknesses and set subjective wellbeing scholarship on a course for several more decades of growth and maturation. It presents a theory of subjective wellbeing in two parts. The first is the subjective wellbeing production function—a model of wellbeing as outcome. The second is the coalescence of being—a model of the self-actualization process by which wellbeing is achieved. This two-part model integrates ideas from subjective wellbeing studies with complementary ideas in analytical and continental philosophy, clinical, moral, and developmental psychology, and welfare economics. Importantly, this theory is ethically sensitive, bridging the gap between the philosophical and psychological perspectives on wellbeing in a way that illuminates the complexities facing the application of subjective wellbeing in public policy. The book also provides a thorough review of various ways in which subjective wellbeing can be studied empirically, and the hard trade-offs we face between long surveys that capture the richness of the concept and the parsimony required by social surveys and policy analysis.
... ,Burnham and Hare 2007, Ernest-Jones et al. 2011, Haley and Fessler 2005, Nettle et al. 2012, though it must be noted that this body of literature is heavily embroiled in psychology's replication crisis(Dear et al. 2019). This parallels the arguments ofLerner and Tetlock (2003, p. 433), who write: ...
Chapter
The study of subjective wellbeing is dominated by two traditions: the psychological and philosophical. If the psychological is deficient, it makes sense to look for solutions in the philosophical. As such, this chapter begins with a thorough but not exhaustive review of the principal philosophical theories of wellbeing: mental state, objective list, preference satisfaction, eudaimonic, and subjectivist. As philosophers are predominantly concerned with the evaluative character of wellbeing, a key benefit of this exercise is that it sensitizes us to the complex value judgments that must be made when defining wellbeing. However, the philosophical tradition has its own problems. In particular, its tendency to delineate and classify has led it to overlook complementarities and overlaps between supposedly competing theories. And its disinterest in “applied” questions has left the practical issue of how you get wellbeing largely investigated, despite the insights it provides regarding what wellbeing is.
... For example, anti-littering posters that include eyes are more effective than posters with no eyes. 24 A visible pair of eyes is not necessary, however. The feeling of being watched or simply thinking of a watcher (after having been primed with the concept of God) can likewise foster cooperation. ...
Article
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The traditional view of hell as eternal conscious torment is challenged by proponents of universalism and conditional immortality. However, they need to explain why the church has been misled in adopting the traditional view. This paper draws from cognitive and evolutionary science of religion to provide an “error theory” of why eternal hell became the dominant view. Early Christianity grew rapidly despite persecution and marginalization. The fear of hell probably helped Christian communities to maintain cooperation by weeding out free riding even in times of crisis. Here the traditional view proved to be more effective than its competitors.
... We found that informing participants about nondeceptive environments leads to less dishonesty and that when deception is allowed and participants are aware of being observed, then honesty increases. Consequently, this echoes previous theoretical accounts (Ayal et al., 2015) and ndings (Zhong et al., 2010;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Nettle et al., 2012;Pfattheicher & Keller, 2015;Schild et al., 2019) that cues of being observed (i.e., anonymity or visibility; see Abeler et al., 2019) decrease cheating, which suggests that participants are more skeptical about their anonymity when experiencing experimental deception. [1] For a review on social norms as both psychological states and collective constructs and on how social norms inform action-oriented decision-making, see Legros & Cislaghi, 2020. ...
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Psychologists, economists, and philosophers as well as lay people have long argued and intuited that in environments where deception is normative, moral behavior is harmed. After we confirmed this folk intuition, we challenge it and show that individuals making decisions within deceptive environments do not behave more dishonestly than in nondeceptive environments. We demonstrate the latter utilizing an example of experimental deception within established institutions, such as laboratories and institutional review boards. Specifically, we first find correlational evidence showing that experiencing deception at the laboratory level yields lower dishonesty. Then, across three studies, we empirically demonstrate that deceptive environments do not affect downstream honest behavior but that when participants were in a deceptive environment and aware of being observed, their dishonest behavior decreased. Our results show that the relationship between deception and dishonesty is more complicated than previous interpretations have suggested and expand the understanding of deception and moral behavior.
... This might not only affect people's perceptions of what others know but also people's behaviour around known strangers. Previous research has shown how anonymity can increase dishonest or harmful behaviour, while reducing cooperative or prosocial behaviour [13][14][15][16][17] . However, if people believe that known strangers know more about them, and are more attuned to their actions, then this might reduce some of the negative behavioural consequences of anonymity. ...
Article
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Social ties often seem symmetric, but they need not be1–5. For example, a person might know a stranger better than the stranger knows them. We explored whether people overlook these asymmetries and what consequences that might have for people’s perceptions and actions. Here we show that when people know more about others, they think others know more about them. Across nine laboratory experiments, when participants learned more about a stranger, they felt as if the stranger also knew them better, and they acted as if the stranger was more attuned to their actions. As a result, participants were more honest around known strangers. We tested this further with a field experiment in New York City, in which we provided residents with mundane information about neighbourhood police officers. We found that the intervention shifted residents’ perceptions of officers’ knowledge of illegal activity, and it may even have reduced crime. It appears that our sense of anonymity depends not only on what people know about us but also on what we know about them.
... For example, just the presence of a pair of eyes is enough to make people feel more observed [47], making them wash more their hands [48] or litter less [49]. In the case of dishonesty, studies show that people seem to refrain from dishonesty when they are being monitored, for example when they know that someone is going to check their answers (e.g., [6,50], see [51] Study 3). ...
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Cheating has been extensively studied in Psychology and Economics, showing a variety of factors that can increase or decrease this behavior. Considering future human–robot interactions, where robots are being thought to be integrated in a variety of contexts, it is important to test which characteristics robots can have to prevent people from cheating. In this study (N = 123), we investigated whether people will cheat if an autonomous robot showed situationally aware behaviors towards the participant’s performance (i.e., intervened when they cheated). Our results showed that being in the presence of an aware robot is better at decreasing cheating behavior than being alone, and that there are no differences in cheating behavior between a non-aware robot or being alone. This study brings implications for the development of autonomous robots in roles where cheating might happen.
... The effect of direct surveillance has been studied widely. Extant literature includes studying generosity of donations [44][45][46][47], the effect of images of eyes [48], robotic eyes [49], effect on littering [50], among others. ...
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We present a solution to data ownership in the surveillance age in the form of an ethically sustainable framework for managing personal and person-derived data. This framework is based on the concept of Datenherrschaft – mastery over data that all natural persons should have on data they themselves produce or is derived thereof. We give numerous examples and tie cases to robust ethical analysis, and also discuss technological dimensions.
... Fear of punishment and/or negative judgments by others may prove more effective than a belief in objectivity when it comes to effecting moral behavior: studies have shown that priming people, even subtly, with the idea that they're being observed increases prosocial behavior (Haley & Fessler 2005;Ernest-Jones, Nettle, & Bateson 2011). The point here is that, if the capacity or mechanism for moral judgment is the product of natural selectionif it evolved because it conferred some fitness-enhancing advantage-that's presumably because it has some distinctive feature that a more general cognitive mechanism would lack. ...
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Evolutionary debunking arguments draw on claims about the biological origins of our moral beliefs to undermine moral realism. In this paper, I argue that moral disagreement gives us reason to doubt the evolutionary explanations of moral judgment on which such arguments rely. The extent of cross-cultural and historical moral diversity suggests that evolution can’t explain the content of moral norms. Nor can it explain the capacity to make moral judgment in the way the debunker requires: empirical studies of folk moral judgments show that they lack the kind of objectivity debunkers point to as an evolutionary contribution to our capacity for moral judgment. Thus, the empirical premise of debunking arguments lacks empirical support.
... Other researchers have examined this phenomenon by comparing the behavior of subjects while transferring money in the presence of an image of eyes or a control image (Keller and Pfattheicher, 2011;Oda et al., 2011;Nettle et al., 2012). The watching eyes effects have also affected several conditions regarding public decisions: for example, paying via an honesty box (Bateson et al., 2006), donating to charity (Powell et al., 2012), recycling (Francey and Bergmüller, 2012), stealing bicycles from campuses (Nettle et al., 2012), and leaving litter on café tables (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011). ...
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Littering is a daunting environmental issue that occurs daily; the impact of littering can range from lowering the aesthetic appeal of a city to polluting waterways and biomes. Littering persists on a collective and individual level despite the existence of numerous laws and regulations that prohibit it. We assume that there is a correlation between the effectiveness of visual aids and littering behavior. Poorly designed prohibitive signs and inaccessible trash bins could be part of the reason why littering persists. The current research aims to evaluate existing prohibitive signs and trash bins and to design some improvements. The researchers used direct observation methods of visual designs based on socio-psychological persuasion techniques and a questionnaire conducted at the School of Environmental Science of Universitas Indonesia. The results showed that respondents were generally aware of littering being a serious issue that could lead to environmental problems. The university campus was generally clean; however, respondents stated that they often saw plastic trash in sewer and drainage areas. University residents do litter despite adverse social judgment. In addition, respondents stated that they responded better to visually pleasing encouragement posters rather than the standard prohibitive signs on proper waste disposal behavior.
... Eyespots are thought to trigger feelings of observation, which recruit a subconscious reputation management system to modify behaviour. This effect has been observed in both lab experiments [20][21][22][23][24], and field studies [18,[25][26][27], and across many dependent measures, including increasing generosity [22,23,[28][29][30], condemnation of moral violations [31], and (reducing) antisocial behaviours (for review see [32]). These findings suggest that people are very sensitive to reputation-based cues; even invalid cues of observation can affect social decisions. ...
Article
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Some evidence suggests that people behave more cooperatively and generously when observed or in the presence of images of eyes (termed the 'watching eyes' effect). Eye images are thought to trigger feelings of observation, which in turn motivate people to behave more cooperatively to earn a good reputation. However, several recent studies have failed to find evidence of the eyes effect. One possibility is that inconsistent evidence in support of the eyes effect is a product of individual differences in sensitivity or susceptibility to the cue. In fact, some evidence suggests that people who are generally more prosocial are less susceptible to situation-specific reputation-based cues of observation. In this paper, we sought to (1) replicate the eyes effect, (2) replicate the past finding that people who are dispositionally less prosocial are more responsive to observation than people who are more dispositionally more prosocial, and (3) determine if this effect extends to the watching eyes effect. Results from a pre-registered study showed that people did not give more money in a dictator game when decisions were made public or in the presence of eye images, even though participants felt more observed when decisions were public. That is, we failed to replicate the eyes effect and observation effect. An initial, but underpowered, interaction model suggests that egoists give less than prosocials in private, but not public, conditions. This suggests a direction for future research investigating if and how individual differences in prosociality influence observation effects.
... warmth-based associations). This resonates with empirical studies showing that individuals' actual behaviour in naturalistic settings can be significantly influenced by utilizing images, posters or other visual aids priming a particular notion, such as healthy consumption (Papies and Hamstra, 2010), cooperative behaviour (Bateson, Nettle and Roberts, 2006;Ernest-Jones, Nettle and Bateson, 2011) and eco-friendliness (Wang, Mukhopadhyay and Patrick, 2017). In addition, auditory promotional messages, typically employed in retailing environments, can utilize competence/warmth-based framing to further influence the likelihood that consumers will attend to COO product cues. ...
Article
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In the context of the on‐going debate regarding the relevance of the country of origin (COO) phenomenon and drawing from cue utilization theory as well as research on visual attention, we conduct three eye‐tracking experiments that investigate (a) whether consumers naturally detect COO labels, (b) whether such detection influences subsequent behavioural intentions and (c) whether visual attention to COO labels can be externally motivated. Results consistently show that the majority of COO labels on product packages are indeed noticed by consumers. While the effects of COO on behavioural intentions are conditional on the duration of visual attention, dwell times on COO labels, on average, exceed the tipping point necessary to allow such effects. Importantly, whether and for how long COO labels are attended to can be motivated by differentially priming consumers’ competence (vs. warmth)‐based judgment goals. Implications of these findings for levering COO cues in marketing strategies are considered.
... Advocates have suggested that reductions in force and complaints are tied to a BWC-generated civilizing effect. The potential for a civilizing effect has a strong theoretical foundation as both social influence theory and social impact theory posit normative behavior is more likely when people are aware they are being directly observed (Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Munger and Harris, 1989;Wicklund, 1975). Research also suggests vicarious observation methods, such as cameras, may produce the same effect (Ratcliffe et al., 2009;Wahl et al., 2010). ...
Article
This study investigated citizen attitudes about the public release of police body-worn camera (BWC) video. We examined quantitative and qualitative survey data from a convenience sample of 535 citizens living in and around Birmingham, Alabama, USA. We found citizens’ attitudes ranged widely and were often contextualized based on the circumstances of the video and case. Race, gender, and police accountability concerns were significantly related to greater support for video release, with race being the strongest factor. Surveillance concerns were not significantly related to attitudes about video release. While numerous studies show that officers and citizens support the use of BWCs in policing, questions about the public release of video are still under debate. Very few studies have examined the issue of video release for the purposes of developing evidence-based policy that satisfies the interests of diverse groups and minimizes civil unrest following critical incidents. Further research is needed before clear recommendations can be made regarding optimum policies guiding BWC video release.
... One of these uses the prosocial effect of watching eyes, which predominantly rests on concern for reputation (Conty et al., 2016;Manesi et al., 2016;Oda et al., 2011). Research suggests that watching eyes can indeed reduce littering in various environments (Bateson et al., 2015;Dear et al., 2019;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011). As a follow-up to our primary goal of testing the effect of relocating waste receptacles, we investigated if watching eyes could help decrease littering when there are no waste receptacles inside the park, only at the exits. ...
Article
In this paper we test two approaches to reduce littering in urban parks that potentially reinforce each other: Relocating waste receptacles and the presence of watching eyes. Moving waste receptacles from the interior to the exits of a park makes waste collection more efficient, but can have two opposing effects: Decreased littering because of greater care inspired by the perception of natural beauty in a park without artifacts like waste receptacles, or increased littering because of the greater distance to waste receptacles. Preceded by an online study (N = 153), three successive field studies showed mixed evidence for increased littering when moving waste receptacles to the exits (Study 2 and 3). However, when additionally attaching pictures of watching animal eyes to trees in the park (Study 4), litter levels seemed to decrease. We conclude that littering is best countered with a combination of persuasive communication and physical measures.
... Our suggestion is that this may lead to legal professionals' heightened cognizance that their actions are visible to a wider audience and which may lead to a change in conduct as has been shown in studies on the use of body cameras by the police (Ariel et al., 2015). People become more self-aware, they are more likely to follow rules and they are more likely to have reputational concerns if they are being watched (Bateson et al., 2006;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011). It has thus been suggested that surveillance leads to the reproduction of norms with surveillance practices -strategies for relating to and managing surveillance -reducing people's agency (Lyon, 2001). ...
Article
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Live blogging from legal trials has become one of the most accessible ways in which the public can gain direct insight into legal proceedings, particularly in countries where television cameras are denied entry into the courtroom. Whilst live blogging constitutes an important way of ensuring the transparency and openness of legal processes and documents – a principle known as open justice and a key component of many democratic societies – the risks stemming from opening up the courts not only to more immediate and detailed scrutiny, but also to a larger, virtual audience are lesser known. A deeper understanding of how a legal trial’s transformation into a live event due to live blogs has impacted on the legal sphere is therefore needed. The aims of this article are thus twofold: to show how live blogs are changing legal professionals’ work practices and to discuss what it is about live blogs that leads to these changes in professional practices. The analysis draws on qualitative interviews with legal professionals in Sweden and Denmark and finds that live blogs increase reflection in professional performances stemming from an awareness of performing to a virtual audience. Surveillance thus leads to performance adjustment. Live blogs also lead to changes in professionals practices and transform the audience/participant boundary into a fluid one most notably regarding the Danish respondents in comparison to those in Sweden. The article also suggests a hierarchy of liveness with live blogs considered to be less intrusive than televised trials.
... Mate choice based on sexual preference for altruists is supported by a number of studies. In the presence of observers (or even observer cues such as a printed image of human eyes), people are more inclined toward generosity (Haley and Fessler, 2005;Bateson et al., 2006;Burnham and Hare, 2007;Bourrat et al., 2011;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Nettle et al., 2013; although the effect may be limited to short cue exposure: Sparks and Barclay, 2013), and they donate more under nonanonymous settings (Burnham, 2003). Competitive altruism, in general, seems common among humans (Van Vugt et al., 2007). ...
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The emergence of altruistic behavior constitutes one of the most widely studied problems in evolutionary biology and behavioral science. Multiple explanations have been proposed, most importantly including kin selection, reciprocity, and costly signaling in sexual selection. In order to test the latter, this study investigated whether people behave more altruistically when primed by photographs of attractive faces and whether more or less altruistic people differ in the number of sexual and romantic partners. Participants in the general population (N = 158, 84 F, 74 M) first rated the attractiveness of photographs of 20 faces of the opposite (sexually preferred) sex and then played the Dictator and Ultimatum Games (DG and UG). The photograph rating acted as priming; half the participants received photographs of people rated as more attractive than average in an earlier study, and the other half received photographs previously rated as less attractive. The attractiveness-primed participants, especially men, were expected to behave more altruistically—signaling that they are desirable, resource-possessing partners. We also expected altruists to self-report more sexual and romantic partners. The observed difference between altruistic behaviors in the attractiveness- and unattractiveness-primed groups occurred in UG offers, however, in the opposite than expected direction in women. The number of sexual partners was positively correlated to minimum acceptable offers (MAOs) in the UG, in line with expectations based on the theory of costly signaling.
... (1) Eyes: Use of a life-size image of human eyes, as found in previous studies (Bateson et al. 2006;Ernest-Jones et al. 2011). The particular image was chosen due to its effectiveness in the prior studies and its rather neutral eye expression. ...
Article
A growing body of research has demonstrated that images of watchful eyes can promote prosocial behavior in a variety of settings. However, studies on the impact of eye cues on prosocial behavior in economic games yield ambiguous findings and thus provide no clear answer to the question whether these nudges have the potential to cause significant behavioral change. Moreover, the underlying mechanisms of watchful eyes remain unclear. We investigate whether cues of being watched positively affect prosocial behavior in the dictator game when a recipient is physically present. In a post-experimental questionnaire, we gathered additional information on attitudes towards trust and voluntary cooperation and on emotional responses to eye images. The weak effect observed in our study suggests that images of human eyes may increase cooperative behavior in the dictator game, providing support for the idea that the ‘watchful eyes effect’ is caused by a concern for avoiding bad reputation. Individual differences in attitudes towards trust and voluntary cooperation did not account for this effect. Furthermore, data from our post-experimental questionnaire provided mixed support for the theory that the watchful eyes effect may ultimately stem from higher levels of negative emotions related to the feeling of being watched caused by the exposure to human eye images. While we found no difference in the positive or negative affect schedule (PANAS) related to eye images and flowers after a long exposure during the experiment, participants in the control group associated lower levels of pleasure and a more dominant feeling (SAM) with the eye images after a short exposure to both stimuli. Referring to a relatively large variability of cooperativeness among participants in the eyes condition, we need to interpret the weak watchful eyes effect cautiously and conclude that eye cues do not make people more cooperative and prosocial across the board.
... However, in case of a bad exam, there were no compensation opportunities with additional points. The choice of such an experimental design coincided with some field experimental designs (Crutchfield, 2017;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011;Frey & Meier, 2004;Gil-White, 2004;Griffin et al., 2012) that experiment participants did not know they were part of an experiment and might not prefer. Students did not know that they were part of an experiment and although they would opt out, they would not explicitly give the option to opt out. ...
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This study aims to investigate the types of bargaining behaviour students have and the variables that affect these bargaining behaviours by designing an ultimatum bargaining game in the classroom environment (during the real exam). The experimental group consists of 202 students who took the spring term economics final exam. The strategic interaction between students was formulated as a two-person bargaining problem. A cooperative solution was based on the Nash solution also obtained for bargaining problem among students. The findings of this study show that the highest bargaining equilibrium in this game is the equilibrium status based on the Nash solution. Moreover, we concluded that the success of the economy course and the grade-level affect the students’ behaviour according to the equilibrium strategy based on the Nash solution. JEL Codes: C90, C70, C78, C57
... Future studies may use observational measures in a natural setting to increase external validity. The challenge here is to capture the actual disposal behaviour when an individual feels that there is nobody watching (or checking after the study has ended), as research has already shown that the presence of potential observers might lead to a socially desirable behaviour (e.g., littering behaviour in a cafeteria when feeling watched; Bateson et al. 2013;Ernest-Jones et al. 2011). One solution would be to objectively measure the waste produced at home in the household. ...
Article
The goal of the study is to assess the influence of consumer versus industry effectiveness states, generated by message frames when providing information to consumers, on their behavioural intentions to reduce waste and reuse products. A pre-study identifies appraisal-based emotions depending on whether either industries or consumers were framed as more effective in reducing waste. Three experimental studies were conducted in the USA and Brazil to test the downstream effects of such communication. The studies showed that informed states of industry (versus consumer) effectiveness increased anger which in turn had a positive effect on behavioural intentions to reduce waste and reuse products (Studies 1-3). The relationship was stronger for individuals with low (versus high) concern for immediate consequences (Study 3). Policymakers may concentrate on informing consumers that their actions may not be sufficient as of today and that higher determination is needed to protect the environment.
... Bateson et al., 2006;Nettle et al., 2013;see Matsugasaki et al., 2015 for negative results and Bradley et al., 2018 andDear et al., 2019 for meta-analyses). In humans, watching eyes have been found to be more effective when few other people are present (Ekström, 2012;Ernest-Jones et al., 2011). ...
Article
We addressed two different aspects of indirect reciprocity in tufted capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.) studying two common cooperative behaviours, grooming and food sharing. In an observational study, we tested whether capuchin monkeys were more likely to groom an individual that had just groomed a group mate than an individual that had not groomed anybody. In an experimental study, we tested whether capuchin monkeys were more likely to share their food with a partner when in the presence of a bystander (or of an image of the eyes of a conspecific) than when alone with their partner. In the observational study, we found an increase in the likelihood of receiving grooming after giving grooming, but this effect seemed to depend on social facilitation rather than on indirect reciprocity, as we found a similar effect after receiving (rather than giving) grooming. In the experimental study, the presence of a bystander or of an image of eyes did not affect the amount of food transferred to a group mate. Overall, these results suggest capuchin monkeys do not engage in indirect reciprocity.
Article
Environments that require social interaction are complex, challenging and sometimes experienced as overwhelming by autistic people. However, all too often theories relating to social interaction processes are created, and interventions are proposed, on the basis of data collected from studies that do not involve genuine social encounters nor do they consider the perception of social presence to be a potentially influential factor. In this review we begin by considering why face-to-face interaction research is important in this field. We then discuss how the perception of social agency and social presence can influence conclusions about social interaction processes. We then outline some insights gained from face-to-face interaction research conducted with both autistic and non-autistic people. We finish by considering the impact of social presence on cognitive processes more broadly, including theory of mind. Overall, we demonstrate that choice of stimuli in studies assessing social interaction processes has the potential to substantially alter conclusions drawn. Ecological validity matters and social presence, in particular, is a critical factor that fundamentally impacts social interaction processes in both autistic and non-autistic people.
Article
The tensions between democracy and justice have long preoccupied political theorists. Institutions that are procedurally democratic do not necessarily make substantively just decisions. Democratizing Global Justice shows that democracy and justice can be mutually reinforcing in global governance - a domain where both are conspicuously lacking - and indeed that global justice requires global democratization. This novel reconceptualization of the problematic relationship between global democracy and global justice emphasises the role of inclusive deliberative processes. These processes can empower the agents necessary to determine what justice should mean and how it should be implemented in any given context. Key agents include citizens and the global poor; and not just the states but also international organizations and advocacy groups active in global governance. The argument is informed by and applied to the decision process leading to adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and climate governance inasmuch as it takes on questions of climate justice.
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The present research addresses tools that could help reduce littering in society. Four interventions were tested which, based on different processes, should reduce littering: monetary information, the depicted injunctive norm, watching eyes and a nature picture. To test these interventions, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) involving 440 community building's waste disposal areas (N = 71,155) was conducted in Vienna. Littering was assessed before the intervention, 24–48 h after, and again seven weeks after the intervention. Results show that the financial intervention (monetary information) hardly had any effect on littering whereas the norm-based intervention (depicted injunctive norm) led to more littering compared to the control and in particular, the nature picture. In contrast, the reputation-based intervention (watching eyes) and ecology-based intervention (nature picture) reduced littering over time by 4.7%. Thus, interventions based on implicit and soft appeals to reputation and ecology are more effective in fostering clean environments than classical interventions applying explicit information on finances and norms.
Chapter
Socially situated thought and behaviour are pervasive and vitally important in human society. The social brain has become a focus of study for researchers in the neurosciences, psychology, biology and other areas of behavioural science, and it is becoming increasingly clear that social behaviour is heavily dependent on shared representations. Any social activity, from a simple conversation to a well-drilled military exercise to an exquisitely perfected dance routine, involves information sharing between the brains of those involved. This volume comprises a collection of cutting-edge essays centred on the idea of shared representations, broadly defined. Featuring contributions from established world leaders in their fields and written in a simultaneously accessible and detailed style, this is an invaluable resource for established researchers and those who are new to the field.
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Two key functions in human face perception are gaze discrimination and identity recognition. Here we examine whether gaze discrimination can be intact when identity recognition is impaired in developmental prosopagnosia (DP). We ran a large sample of developmental prosopagnosics (DPs) with a series of gaze discrimination tasks that assess various mechanisms in gaze processing. Experiment 1 (N = 101 DP participants) investigates spatial processing using an abnormal eye gaze detection task and a Wollaston illusion task that measures perceptual integration of eye and head direction. Experiment 2 (N = 45 DP participants) investigates temporal processing using an adaptation task and a serial dependence task. Despite their deficits with identity recognition, DPs performed in the normal range across both experiments. These results demonstrate that gaze discrimination can be normal in DP, and that various mechanisms of gaze processing can be spared when identity recognition is impaired. Our findings clarify the highly selective nature of impairments in DP and provide support for neurocognitive models of face perception with distinct mechanisms for gaze and identity processing.
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High-quality online consumer reviews offer great value to e-commerce stakeholders. Research so far has mainly focused on what drives consumers to submit reviews, while little has been done to specifically theorize why review writers construct high-quality reviews versus post poor review content. This paper advances current theorizing on the behavior of writing quality reviews by proposing a concept referred to as space norms, a distinct instantiation of social norms inferred from locally observing how others write reviews on the local digital space (i.e., the review site). Specifically, we theorize that the focal behavior is largely directed by space norms-space norms beget a sense of how one should do and induce conformity in the given site. We tested the theory of space norms in a series of empirical studies, the findings of which provided converging evidence. Study 1 used experimental methods and demonstrated-with large effect sizes-that review writers tend to act in accordance with the space norm of the local site. A post-hoc text analysis ruled out an alternative explanation and corroborated the findings. Study 2 used field data collected from two e-commerce websites to further triangulate the space norms proposition. Another post-hoc study confirmed the robustness of the results. This paper contributes to information systems research by developing and empirically testing a theory of space norms that pinpoints the role of local digital space (e.g., online review site) in constructing the focal normative phenomenon. It also lends insights to information technology (IT) practitioners and digital platforms: managers looking to elicit quality reviewing behavior should devise the local digital space to nurture the space norms for the desired behavior.
Article
Modern communication technologies enable efficient exchange of information but often sacrifice direct human interaction inherent in more traditional forms of communication. This raises the question of whether the lack of personal interaction induces individuals to exploit informational asymmetries. We conducted two experiments with a total of 848 subjects to examine how human versus machine interaction influences cheating for financial gain. We find that individuals cheat about three times more when they interact with a machine rather than a person, regardless of whether the machine is equipped with human features. When interacting with a human, individuals are particularly reluctant to report unlikely and therefore, suspicious outcomes, which is consistent with social image concerns. The second experiment shows that dishonest individuals prefer to interact with a machine when facing an opportunity to cheat. Our results suggest that human presence is key to mitigating dishonest behavior and that self-selection into communication channels can be used to screen for dishonest people. This paper was accepted by Axel Ockenfels, decision analysis.
Article
Environment-leader congruency yields better adaptability manifested in better decision-making. The military combat environment offers advantages for leaders with ADHD; though they are expected to encounter difficulties due to executive dysfunction. This research aspired to increase the congruency effect for leaders with ADHD in a stressful military environment through interventions that improve executive decisions. We hypothesized that making decisions in isolation will improve decision quality overall; while face-to-face interventions that activate commitment and focused attention will promote decision-making particularly among respondents with ADHD. A large-scale controlled study explored candidates’ responses to combat dilemmas under four randomly assigned interventions: Isolation, Simple face-to-face, Withholding response face-to-face; and Control-peer-group classroom setting. The main effects of improved decision-making in isolation and simple face-to-face settings were shown across groups. Further, both face-to-face interventions interacted with ADHD, yielding stronger effects and better performance among participants with ADHD as compared to those without ADHD. Current findings highlight the importance of finding suitable conditions for enabling improved executive decisions among candidates with ADHD. Introducing economical and easy-to-operate face-to-face interventions enhances decision quality in a highly represented neurodiverse population. Current findings may generalize to an array of high-risk/high-stress working environments, providing ecologically relevant support for young leaders from neurodiverse populations.
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Since cycling can contribute to sustainability, shared-bicycle schemes have been encouraged as a green technology. In Chinese cities, however, dockless app-based bicycle-sharing systems (DABS) have become a blight, resulting in tremendous waste. Ironically, this stems from the success of DABS—their rapid development and adoption. As an “emergent” technology, DABS in China consist in the confluence of existing technologies and extra-technological factors, situations different from the sum of their parts, where negative consequences are more difficult to identify and address. Additionally, DABS in China are a case of private, app-based technology providing a good traditionally regulated by municipal governments. For these reasons, it provides valuable lessons: The negative consequences associated with DABS in China result from a lack of policy formulation and implementation, failing to consider and address extra-technological dimensions. Private technology companies should not be left to ensure these goods, and municipalities must craft policies to ensure stakeholder interests.
Article
The concern for a positive self-image is a central assumption in a large class of signaling models. In this paper, we exogenously vary the impact of self-image concerns by manipulating self-directed attention and study the impact on moral behavior. The choice context in the experiment is whether subjects inflict a painful electric shock on another subject to receive a monetary reward. In the main treatment, subjects see their own face on the decision screen in a real-time video feed. In three control conditions, subjects see either no video at all or a neutral video, or they see themselves in a mirror. We find that increasing self-awareness significantly reduces the fraction of subjects inflicting pain. The finding emphasizes the importance of self-image concerns for moral decision making with implications for theory as well as practical applications to promote socially desirable outcomes.
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Models indicate that opportunities for reputation formation can play an important role in sustaining cooperation and prosocial behavior. Results from experimental economic games support this conclusion, as manipulating reputational opportunities affects prosocial behavior. Noting that some prosocial behavior remains even in anonymous noniterated games, some investigators argue that humans possess a propensity for prosociality independent of reputation management. However, decision-making processes often employ both explicit propositional knowledge and intuitive or affective judgments elicited by tacit cues. Manipulating game parameters alters explicit information employed in overt strategizing but leaves intact cues that may affect intuitive judgments relevant to reputation formation. To explore how subtle cues of observability impact prosocial behavior, we conducted five dictator games, manipulating both auditory cues of the presence of others (via the use of sound-deadening earmuffs) and visual cues (via the presentation of stylized eyespots). Although earmuffs appeared to reduce generosity, this effect was not significant. However, as predicted, eyespots substantially increased generosity, despite no differences in actual anonymity; when using a computer displaying eyespots, almost twice as many participants gave money to their partners compared with the controls. Investigations of prosocial behavior must consider both overt information about game parameters and subtle cues influencing intuitive judgments.
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This study evaluates the differential effectiveness of six different anti-litter procedures in two neighborhood theaters. The procedures used to encourage individuals in attendance to pick up litter and deposit it properly included: providing litterbags, providing litterbags with instructions to use them, providing extra trash cans, showing a special anti-litter film before the feature film, and providing incentives for the appropriate deposit of litter. In both theaters, the incentive procedures resulted in the removal of over 90% of all litter by the children in attendance, a figure far above that achieved by the other procedures investigated.
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Every day, we make decisions on topics ranging from personal investments to schools for our children to the meals we eat to the causes we champion. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. The reason, the authors explain, is that, being human, we all are susceptible to various biases that can lead us to blunder. Our mistakes make us poorer and less healthy; we often make bad decisions involving education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, the family, and even the planet itself. Thaler and Sunstein invite us to enter an alternative world, one that takes our humanness as a given. They show that by knowing how people think, we can design choice environments that make it easier for people to choose what is best for themselves, their families, and their society. Using colorful examples from the most important aspects of life, Thaler and Sunstein demonstrate how thoughtful "choice architecture" can be established to nudge us in beneficial directions without restricting freedom of choice. Nudge offers a unique new take-from neither the left nor the right-on many hot-button issues, for individuals and governments alike. This is one of the most engaging and provocative books to come along in many years. © 2008 by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. All rights reserved.
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A series of experiments examined the relationship of urbanism to helping. Six types of helping behaviors were studied in a cross-sample of 36 small, medium, and large cities across the United States. The relationship of helping to a series of statistics reflecting the demographic, social, environmental, and economic characteristics of these communities was then examined. The strongest and most consistent predictor of overall helping was population density. There were significant correlations between economic indicators and helping in 3 situations. Helping in some situations also tended to be negatively related to violent crime rates and to environmental problems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that cooperation in a social dilemma context could be facilitated by inducing participants to emit social psychophysical cues, information in the perceptual array that affords meaningful and consequential social inferences. In particular, participants were asked to engage in mutual eye gaze, to touch one another gently, to communicate in a virtual chat room, or to tap out rhythms in synchrony. All but the last of these manipulations increased contributions to a public good in all-male but not all-female groups. These results suggest the inference systems that are engaged when individuals make decisions about whether or not to cooperate in a group context are responsive to relatively low level nonverbal behavioral cues.
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Both laboratory and field data suggest that people punish noncooperators even in one-shot interactions. Although such ‘‘altruistic punishment’’ may explain the high levels of cooperation in human societies, it creates an evolutionary puzzle: existing models suggest that altruistic cooperation among nonrelatives is evolutionarily stable only in small groups. Thus, applying such models to the evolution of altruistic punishment leads to the prediction that people will not incur costs to punish others to provide benefits to large groups of nonrelatives. However, here we show that an important asymmetry between altruistic cooperation and altruistic punishment allows altruistic punishment to evolve in populations engaged in one-time, anonymous interactions. This process allows both altruistic punishment and altruistic cooperation to be maintained even when groups are large and other parameter values approximate conditions that characterize cultural evolution in the small-scale societies in which humans lived for most of our prehistory. PNAS vol. 100, pgs. 3531-3535
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Because mutually beneficial cooperation may unravel unless most members of a group contribute, people often gang up on free-riders, punishing them when this is cost-effective in sustaining cooperation. In contrast, current models of the evolution of cooperation assume that punishment is uncoordinated and unconditional. These models have difficulty explaining the evolutionary emergence of punishment because rare unconditional punishers bear substantial costs and hence are eliminated. Moreover, in human behavioral experiments in which punishment is uncoordinated, the sum of costs to punishers and their targets often exceeds the benefits of the increased cooperation that results from the punishment of free-riders. As a result, cooperation sustained by punishment may actually reduce the average payoffs of group members in comparison with groups in which punishment of free-riders is not an option. Here, we present a model of coordinated punishment that is calibrated for ancestral human conditions and captures a further aspect of reality missing from both models and experiments: The total cost of punishing a free-rider declines as the number of punishers increases. We show that punishment can proliferate when rare, and when it does, it enhances group-average payoffs.
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Explaining unconditional cooperation, such as donations to charities or contributions to public goods, continues to present a problem. One possibility is that cooperation can pay through developing a reputation that makes one more likely to be chosen for a profitable cooperative partnership, a process termed competitive altruism (CA) or reputation-based partner choice. Here, we show, to our knowledge, for the first time, that investing in a cooperative reputation can bring net benefits through access to more cooperative partners. Participants played a public goods game (PGG) followed by an opportunity to select a partner for a second cooperative game. We found that those who gave more in the PGG were more often selected as desired partners and received more in the paired cooperative game. Reputational competition was even stronger when it was possible for participants to receive a higher payoff from partner choice. The benefits of being selected by a more cooperative partner outweighed the costs of cooperation in the reputation building phase. CA therefore provides an alternative to indirect reciprocity as an explanation for reputation-building behaviour. Furthermore, while indirect reciprocity depends upon individuals giving preference to those of good standing, CA can explain unconditional cooperation.
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In a laboratory experiment, we use a public goods game to examine the hypothesis that human subjects use an involuntary eye-detector mechanism for evaluating the level of privacy. Half of our subjects are “watched” by images of a robot presented on their computer screen. The robot—named Kismet and invented at MIT—is constructed from objects that are obviously not human with the exception of its eyes. In our experiment, Kismet produces a significant difference in behavior that is not consistent with existing economic models of preferences, either self- or other-regarding. Subjects who are “watched” by Kismet contribute 29% more to the public good than do subjects in the same setting without Kismet.
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Strong reciprocity is characterized by the willingness to altruistically reward cooperative acts and to altruistically punish norm-violating, defecting behaviours. Recent evidence suggests that subtle reputation cues, such as eyes staring at subjects during their choices, may enhance prosocial behaviour. Thus, in principle, strong reciprocity could also be affected by eye cues. We investigate the impact of eye cues on trustees' altruistic behaviour in a trust game and find zero effect. Neither the subjects who are classified as prosocial nor the subjects who are classified as selfish respond to these cues. In sharp contrast to the irrelevance of subtle reputation cues for strong reciprocity, we find a large effect of explicit, pecuniary reputation incentives on the trustees' prosociality. Trustees who can acquire a good reputation that benefits them in future interactions honour trust much more than trustees who cannot build a good reputation. These results cast doubt on hypotheses suggesting that strong reciprocity is easily malleable by implicit reputation cues not backed by explicit reputation incentives.
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Imagine that the neighborhood you are living in is covered with graffiti, litter, and unreturned shopping carts. Would this reality cause you to litter more, trespass, or even steal? A thesis known as the broken windows theory suggests that signs of disorderly and petty criminal behavior trigger more disorderly and petty criminal behavior, thus causing the behavior to spread. This may cause neighborhoods to decay and the quality of life of its inhabitants to deteriorate. For a city government, this may be a vital policy issue. But does disorder really spread in neighborhoods? So far there has not been strong empirical support, and it is not clear what constitutes disorder and what may make it spread. We generated hypotheses about the spread of disorder and tested them in six field experiments. We found that, when people observe that others violated a certain social norm or legitimate rule, they are more likely to violate other norms or rules, which causes disorder to spread.
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Darwinian evolution has to provide an explanation for cooperative behaviour. Theories of cooperation are based on kin selection (dependent on genetic relatedness), group selection and reciprocal altruism. The idea of reciprocal altruism usually involves direct reciprocity: repeated encounters between the same individuals allow for the return of an altruistic act by the recipient. Here we present a new theoretical framework, which is based on indirect reciprocity and does not require the same two individuals ever to meet again. Individual selection can nevertheless favour cooperative strategies directed towards recipients that have helped others in the past. Cooperation pays because it confers the image of a valuable community member to the cooperating individual. We present computer simulations and analytic models that specify the conditions required for evolutionary stability of indirect reciprocity. We show that the probability of knowing the 'image' of the recipient must exceed the cost-to-benefit ratio of the altruistic act. We propose that the emergence of indirect reciprocity was a decisive step for the evolution of human societies.
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Human cooperation is an evolutionary puzzle. Unlike other creatures, people frequently cooperate with genetically unrelated strangers, often in large groups, with people they will never meet again, and when reputation gains are small or absent. These patterns of cooperation cannot be explained by the nepotistic motives associated with the evolutionary theory of kin selection and the selfish motives associated with signalling theory or the theory of reciprocal altruism. Here we show experimentally that the altruistic punishment of defectors is a key motive for the explanation of cooperation. Altruistic punishment means that individuals punish, although the punishment is costly for them and yields no material gain. We show that cooperation flourishes if altruistic punishment is possible, and breaks down if it is ruled out. The evidence indicates that negative emotions towards defectors are the proximate mechanism behind altruistic punishment. These results suggest that future study of the evolution of human cooperation should include a strong focus on explaining altruistic punishment.
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Darwinian evolution can explain human cooperative behaviour among non-kin by either direct or indirect reciprocity. In the latter case one does not expect a return for an altruistic act from the recipient as with direct reciprocity, but from another member of the social group. However, the widespread human behaviour of donating to poor people outside the social group, for example, to charity organizations, that are unlikely to reciprocate indirectly and thus are equivalent to defectors in the game is still an evolutionary puzzle. Here we show experimentally that donations made in public to a well-known relief organization resulted both in increased income (that the donors received from the members of their group) and in enhanced political reputation (they were elected to represent the interests of their group). Donations may thus function as an honest signal for one's social reliability.
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We examined the effect of an image of a pair of eyes on contributions to an honesty box used to collect money for drinks in a university coffee room. People paid nearly three times as much for their drinks when eyes were displayed rather than a control image. This finding provides the first evidence from a naturalistic setting of the importance of cues of being watched, and hence reputational concerns, on human cooperative behaviour.
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Evidence shows that real-effort investments can affect bilateral bargaining outcomes. This paper investigates whether similar investments can inhibit equilibrium convergence of experimental markets. In one treatment, sellers’ relative effort affects the allocation of production costs, but a random productivity shock ensures that the allocation is not necessarily equitable. In another treatment, sellers’ effort increases the buyers’ valuation of a good. We find that effort investments have a short-lived impact on trading behavior when sellers’ effort benefits buyers, but no effect when effort determines cost allocation. Efficiency rates are high and do not differ across treatments.
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A series of experiments examined the relationship of urbanism to helping. Six types of helping behaviors were studied in a cross-sample of 36 small, medium, and large cities across the United States. The relationship of helping to a series of statistics reflecting the demographic, social, environmental, and economic characteristics of these communities was then examined. The strongest and most consistent predictor of overall helping was population density. There were significant correlations between economic indicators and helping in three situations. Helping in some situations also tended to be negatively related to violent crime rates and to environmental problems.
Article
One hundred forty-five experimenters "accidentally" dropped a handful of pencils or coins on 1,497 occasions before a total of 4,813 bystanders in elevators in Columbus, Ohio; Seattle, Washington; and Atlanta, Georgia. In picking up the objects, females received more help than did males, males gave more help than did females, and these differences were greatly exaggerated in Atlanta. Both males and females were less likely to help as the number of people present increased, and the data were well fit by a mathematical model of "diffusion of responsibility." There was also a slight but significant tendency for subjects to imitate each other, as shown by an overrepresentation of cases where no one or almost everyone helped.
Article
This study investigates an example of human altruism which is neither kin-directed nor reciprocal: giving to a panhandler. Data were collected on the proportions of passers-by who gave to panhandlers in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts. Three hypotheses were tested, each predicting that passers-by should behave "selfishly," capitalizing on opportunities that, in an evolutionarily appropriate context, could increase mating success. Male passers-by, when alone, gave disproportionately to female panhandlers. Male passers-by, when in the company of a female partner, disproportionately avoided giving to female panhandlers. Male passers-by in the company of a female partner did not "show off" by giving disproportionately to male panhandlers.
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Data from various settings suggest that there is an upper limit of about four on the number of individuals who can interact in spontaneous conversation. This limit appears to be a consequence of the mechanisms of speech production and detection. There appear to be no differences between men and women in this respect, other than those introduced by women's lighter voices.
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Nearly 2000 persons and 1100 table occupancies were observed in two settings. The settings differed in that table littering in one was nearly twice that of the other. In both settings males littered more than females and littering was more likely at tables greater distance from littering containers. Importantly, the relationship between table littering and the variables of group size and group gender mix differed in the two settings, owing to the operation of variables specific to each setting. Tentative explanations were offered for the interactions between these variables and the setting. These results were seen as supportive of Stokols' view that theory building is best done with a contextual research strategy.
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Mounting evidence that cues of being watched can enhance cooperative behaviour questions the existence of ‘anonymous', one-shot, non-kin directed cooperation and the validity of using ‘anonymous' economic games to empirically measure such behaviour in humans. Here we investigate how sensitive people are to such cuing effects. We test whether people playing an ultimatum game can use explicit information about experimental anonymity to override any effects of cuing in a public context, when faced with both simultaneously. The aims of our study were to investigate whether, (1) individuals respond to experimentally imposed anonymity within a public context and (2) the presence of known others affects cooperative behaviour over and above merely the presence of others. We find that proposer offers did not vary with changes in context (i.e., there was no “eyes effect”) but did vary with the degree of actual anonymity and the specific presence of known others. Hence, we infer that people recognise when their decisions are anonymous or not and proposers respond to reputation concerns when they are not anonymous. Responder behaviour did not vary with changes in context, degree of actual anonymity or the specific presence of known others. Hence, responders do not respond to reputation concerns and use one uniform strategy, perhaps as long as the payoff structure remains constant. This latter finding may hint at selection in favour of strategies that uniformly ensure near-equal splits of resources in some environments, and thus manifest as strong fairness norms in a population.
Article
Two experiments investigated effects of communication on behavior in an 8-person commons dilemma of group vs individual gain. A total of 593 persons recruited through newspaper ads served as either participants or observers. Ss made a single choice involving a substantial amount of money (possible outcomes ranging from nothing to $10.50). In Exp I, 4 communication conditions (no communication, irrelevant communication, relevant communication, and relevant communication plus roll call) were crossed with the possibility of losing money. Ss chose self-serving (defecting) or cooperating responses and predicted responses of other group members. Defection was significantly higher in the no-communication and irrelevant-communication conditions than in relevant-communication and relevant-communication plus roll call conditions. Loss had no effect on decisions. Defectors expected much more defection than did cooperators. Exp II replicated irrelevant communication and cooperation effects and compared predictions of participants with those of observers. Variance of participants' predictions was significantly greater than that of observers, indicating that participants' decisions were affecting their expectations about others' behavior. (16 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Giving to others is individually costly, yet generates benefits to the recipient. Such altruistic behavior has been well documented in experimental games between unrelated, anonymous individuals. Matters of social distance between giver and receiver, or between giver and a potential bystander, are also known to be relevant to giving behavior. This paper reports results of an experiment manipulating an extremely weak social cue in the dictator game. Prior to making their decision, we present dictators with a simple visual stimulus: either three dots in a “watching-eyes” configuration, or three dots in a neutral configuration. The watching-eyes configuration is suggestive of a schematic face – a stimuli that is known to weakly activate the fusiform face area of the brain. Our results demonstrate that such a weak social cue does increase giving behavior – even under a double-blind protocol – and this difference in behavior across treatments is entirely explained by differences in the dictator behavior of males.
Article
Litter behavior in a university cafeteria was studied. The research examined the effectiveness of various written behavioral prompts that urged patrons not to litter. Prompting resulted in a significant decrease in the litter. Of greater interest, positively worded prompts were more effective than negatively worded prompts. The specificity of the prompt, however, had no reliable effect. Several demographic variables were also examined. Persons in larger groups littered more than those in smaller groups, and males littered more than females. Also, prior to the introduction of the prompts, persons 25 years of age and older littered (nonsignificantly) more than younger persons. When prompts were in effect, however, this tendency was reversed, with older persons littering much less than younger persons. Finally, littering generally decreased as a function of the convenience of disposal facilities.
Article
To test the hypothesis that sensitivity to monitoring drives people to act altruistically toward members of their own community, two experiments investigated whether an eye-like painting promotes altruism toward in-group members, but not toward out-group members. Participants played the role of dictator in a dictator game with another participant (a recipient) who was from the minimal in-group or out-group. Participants knew if their recipient was an in-group member or an out-group member, but were informed that their recipient did not know the group membership of the proposer. In-group favoritism occurred only when participants were facing a computer desktop which displayed a painting of eyes, but did not occur in the absence of eyes. These findings demonstrate that the eye painting displayed on the participant's computer screen worked as a cue for monitoring, and thus enhanced the participant's altruistic behavior.
Article
Using a mock injury involving arterial bleeding, we explored the impact of variables on two different decisions in the decision-making process leading to help. Expertise (Red Cross Training), ambiguity, and number of bystanders were manipulated in a 2 X 2 X 2 design. We observed the following responses: (a) nonhelp, (b) ineffective direct help, (c) indirect help, and (d) direct help. The decision to help or not was affected by ambiguity, sex, and the presence or absence of other bystanders. Greater ambiguity led to less help; women helped less than men; and fewer people helped when other bystanders were present. Expertise affected the decision leading to the type of help used but not the decision to help. Although training did not raise the intervention rate, it did dramatically change the effectiveness of the help used and could yield as many as 28 more saved lives out of 80 such incidents. The number of bystanders affected both the decision to help and the type of help used. Ineffective direct help occurred most frequently when the bystander was alone. The presence of other bystanders also affected the type of indirect help that was used.
Article
The "tragedy of the commons," that is, the selfish exploitation of resources in the public domain, is a reason for many of our everyday social conflicts. However, humans are often more helpful to others than evolutionary theory would predict, unless indirect reciprocity takes place and is based on image scoring (which reflects the way an individual is viewed by a group), as recently shown by game theorists. We tested this idea under conditions that control for confounding factors. Donations were more frequent to receivers who had been generous to others in earlier interactions. This shows that image scoring promotes cooperative behavior in situations where direct reciprocity is unlikely.
Article
The problem of sustaining a public resource that everybody is free to overuse-the 'tragedy of the commons'-emerges in many social dilemmas, such as our inability to sustain the global climate. Public goods experiments, which are used to study this type of problem, usually confirm that the collective benefit will not be produced. Because individuals and countries often participate in several social games simultaneously, the interaction of these games may provide a sophisticated way by which to maintain the public resource. Indirect reciprocity, 'give and you shall receive', is built on reputation and can sustain a high level of cooperation, as shown by game theorists. Here we show, through alternating rounds of public goods and indirect reciprocity games, that the need to maintain reputation for indirect reciprocity maintains contributions to the public good at an unexpectedly high level. But if rounds of indirect reciprocation are not expected, then contributions to the public good drop quickly to zero. Alternating the games leads to higher profits for all players. As reputation may be a currency that is valid in many social games, our approach could be used to test social dilemmas for their solubility.
Article
Indirect reciprocity occurs when the cooperative behavior between two individuals is contingent on their previous behavior toward others. Previous theoretical analysis indicates that indirect reciprocity can evolve if individuals use an image-scoring strategy. In this paper, we show that, when errors are added, indirect reciprocity cannot be based on an image-scoring strategy. However, if individuals use a standing strategy, then cooperation through indirect reciprocity is evolutionarily stable. These two strategies differ with respect to the information to which they attend. While image-scoring strategies only need attend to the actions of others, standing strategies also require information about intent. We speculate that this difference may shed light on the evolvability of indirect reciprocity. Additionally, we show that systems of indirect reciprocity are highly sensitive to the availability of information. Finally, we present a model which shows that if indirect reciprocity were to evolve, selection should also favor trusting behavior in relations between strangers.
Article
Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effects of this uncertainty, a stochastic dynamic growth model with the public sector is examined. It is shown that deterministic excessive red tape and corruption deteriorate the growth potential through income redistribution and public sector inefficiencies. Most importantly, it is demonstrated that the increase in corruption via higher uncertainty exerts adverse effects on capital accumulation, thus leading to lower growth rates.
Article
The subjective value given to time, also known as the psychological interest rate, or the subjective price of time, is a core concept of the microeconomic choices. Individual decisions using a unique and constant subjective interest rate will refer to an exponential discounting function. However, many empirical and behavioural studies underline the idea of a non-flat term structure of subjective interest rates with a decreasing slope. Using an empirical test this paper aims at identifying in individual behaviours if agents see their psychological value of time decreasing or not. A sample of 243 individuals was questioned with regard to their time preference attitudes. We show that the subjective interest rates follow a negatively sloped term structure. It can be parameterized using two variables, one specifying the instantaneous time preference, the other characterizing the slope of the term structure. A trade-off law called “balancing pressure law” is identified between these two parameters. We show that the term structure of psychological rates depends strongly on gender, but appears not linked with life expectancy. In that sense, individual subjective time preference is not exposed to a tempus fugit effect. We also question the cross relation between risk aversion and time preference. On the theoretical ground, they stand as two different and independent dimensions of choices. However, empirically, both time preference attitude and slope seem directly influenced by the risk attitude.
Article
This paper evaluates a pilot program run by a company called OPOWER, previously known as Positive Energy, to mail home energy reports to residential utility consumers. The reports compare a household’s energy use to that of its neighbors and provide energy conservation tips. Using data from randomized natural field experiment at 80,000 treatment and control households in Minnesota, I estimate that the monthly program reduces energy consumption by 1.9 to 2.0 percent relative to baseline. In a treatment arm receiving reports each quarter, the effects decay in the months between letters and again increase upon receipt of the next letter. This suggests either that the energy conservation information is not useful across seasons or, perhaps more interestingly, that consumers’ motivation or attention is malleable and non-durable. I show that “profiling,” or using a statistical decision rule to target the program at households whose observable characteristics suggest larger treatment effects, could substantially improve cost effectiveness in future programs. The effects of this program provide additional evidence that non-price “nudges” can substantially affect consumer behavior.
Article
We can think of no question more fundamental to experimental economics than understanding whether, and under what circumstances, laboratory results generalize to naturally occurring environments. In this paper, we extend Levitt and List (2006) to the class of games in which financial payoffs and 'doing the right thing' are not necessarily in conflict. We argue that behaviour is crucially linked to not only the preferences of people, but also the properties of the situation. By doing so, we are able to provide a road map of the psychological and economic properties of people and situations that might interfere with generalizability of laboratory result from a broad class of games.
Engineering human cooperation-Does involuntary neural activation increase public goods contributions?
  • T C Burnham
  • B Hare
Burnham, T. C., & Hare, B. (2007). Engineering human cooperation-Does involuntary neural activation increase public goods contributions? Human Nature, 18, 88-108.
Donors to charity gain in both indirect reciprocity and political reputation
  • M Milinski
  • D Semmann
  • H J Krambeck
Milinski, M., Semmann, D., & Krambeck, H. J. (2002a). Donors to charity gain in both indirect reciprocity and political reputation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences, 269, 881-883.