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Over onsFaculteit Gedrags- en MaatschappijwetenschappenPsychologie

Heymans Colloquium - Prof. J. Krueger. Social distance and social projection in the volunteer's dilemma

Wanneer:vr 01-11-2013 13:00 - 14:00
Waar:Room M.0061, Munting building, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, Groningen

LECTURER Prof. Joachem Krueger (Brown University, Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Providence, RI, USA)

TITLE Social distance and social projection in the volunteer's dilemma

DATE & TIME Friday, 1 November 2013, 13.00 – 14.00 hrs

LOCATION Room M.0061, Munting building, Grote Kruisstraat 2/1, Groningen

ABSTRACT In the Volunteer’s Dilemma (VoD), a public good is provided if at least one person acts prosocially. Any more prosociality is inefficient. If no one volunteers, everyone suffers. Game theory derives the optimal probability for volunteering in a one-shot game. Psychologically, however, the decision to volunteer is difficult. The derivation and application of a mixed-strategy equilibrium strategy is complicated and counterintuitive. People are sensitive social norms and preferences, much as they are in other types of dilemma. In several studies, we find that people base their decision to volunteer strongly on the social or psychological distance between themselves and the other player. Their willingness to volunteer increases steeply as social distance decreases. Whereas in many other dilemmas, e.g., regular public good games, this effect increases efficiency, it does so only to a point in the VoD. When social distance is very small, people overvolunteer, even when judge! d by the ir own expectations as to the other person’s probability to volunteer. Rather than being rational guides to choice, expectations regarding others’ behavior seem to be mainly post-choice effects of projection. However, when expectations are experimentally manipulated, they do exert a significant, if normatively insufficient, effect of choice. Individuals begin to realize that in the VoD, they should choose whichever strategy the other player is not choosing. We conclude, with data, that naïve respondents view decisions heavily in terms of their moral implications, and not enough in terms of their rationality and consequences.