Using Cognitive Dissonance to Manipulate Social Preferences

17 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2014

See all articles by Robert J. Oxoby

Robert J. Oxoby

University of Calgary - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Alexander Smith

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

Abstract

We explore the role of cognitive dissonance in dictator and public goods games. Specifically, we motivate cognitive dissonance between one's perception of “fair treatment” and self-interested behaviour by having participants answer a question about fairness. Utilizing two manipulations (reminding participants about their answer to the fairness question and publicly reporting aggregate answers to the question), we find that there is greater cognitive dissonance and behavioural change when there is a social component (i.e., reporting of aggregate answers). When a participant's answer to the fairness question is private, there is less dissonance and hence no behavioural change.

Keywords: cognitive dissonance, experiments, social preferences

JEL Classification: C91, D64, H41

Suggested Citation

Oxoby, Robert J. and Smith, Alexander, Using Cognitive Dissonance to Manipulate Social Preferences. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8310, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2468466 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2468466

Robert J. Oxoby (Contact Author)

University of Calgary - Department of Economics ( email )

2500 University Drive, NW
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada
403-220-2586 (Phone)
403-282-5262 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Alexander Smith

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI)

100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
191
Abstract Views
933
rank
217,781
PlumX Metrics