3 years ago

When More Is Better - Consumption Priming Decreases Responders' Rejections in the Ultimatum Game.

Fritz Strack, Michael Zürn
During the past decades, economic theories of rational choice have been exposed to outcomes that were severe challenges to their claim of universal validity. For example, traditional theories cannot account for refusals to cooperate if cooperation would result in higher payoffs. A prominent illustration are responders' rejections of positive but unequal payoffs in the Ultimatum Game. To accommodate this anomaly in a rational framework one needs to assume both a preference for higher payoffs and a preference for equal payoffs. The current set of studies shows that the relative weight of these preference components depends on external conditions and that consumption priming may decrease responders' rejections of unequal payoffs. Specifically, we demonstrate that increasing the accessibility of consumption-related information accentuates the preference for higher payoffs. Furthermore, consumption priming increased responders' reaction times for unequal payoffs which suggests an increased conflict between both preference components. While these results may also be integrated into existing social preference models, we try to identify some basic psychological processes underlying economic decision making. Going beyond the Ultimatum Game, we propose that a distinction between comparative and deductive evaluations may provide a more general framework to account for various anomalies in behavioral economics.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02226

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02226

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