How Communication Increases Interpersonal Cooperation in Mixed-Motive Situations
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 39-50, 2010, DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2009.09.009.
50 Pages Posted: 25 Jun 2014 Last revised: 27 Jun 2014
Date Written: 2010
Evidence from two experiments indicates that task-related communication promotes cooperation in mixed-motive situations by activating interpersonal norms related to fairness and trust. In Experiment 1, task-related communication increased cooperation between individuals in a three-choice prisoner’s dilemma game (PDG-Alt) but task-unrelated communication did not. In Experiment 2, cooperation was increased both by sending a task-related message to one’s counterpart and receiving a cooperative task-related message from one’s counterpart. Mediation analyses revealed that task-related communication increased cooperation by activating fairness and trust norms (Experiments 1 and 2). Specifically, whereas sending (relative to receiving) a task-related message increased cooperation by activating fairness norms, receiving (relative to sending) a task-related message increased cooperation by activating trust norms (Experiment 2).
Keywords: communication; cooperation; competition; prisoner's dilemma game; PDG-Alt; interpersonal norms; trust; fairness
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