Friend-or-Foe Intentionality Priming in an Extensive Form Trust Game

Posted: 22 Sep 2001

See all articles by Terence Burnham

Terence Burnham

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics; Chapman University The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics

Kevin McCabe

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management

Vernon L. Smith

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute; Chapman University School of Law

Abstract

In a laboratory experiment, we use an extensive form two person trust game to examine the hypothesis that human subjects have a preconscious friend-or-foe (FOF) mental mechanism for evaluating the intentions of another person. Instructions are used to weakly prime the FOF state: instead of the term "counterpart" for referring to the person that an individual is matched with, we substitute the word "partner" in one treatment, "opponent" in the other. This treatment produces a significant difference in trust and trustworthiness behavior in repeat interactions over time with distinct pairs on each trial. Trustworthiness with "partner" is over twice that for "opponent", and this reinforces trust, although both trust and trustworthiness erode over time.

Keyword(s): Bargaining; Reciprocity; Trust and trustworthiness; Evolutionary psychology

JEL Classification: C78, C91

Suggested Citation

Burnham, Terence C. and McCabe, Kevin and Smith, Vernon L., Friend-or-Foe Intentionality Priming in an Extensive Form Trust Game. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=251388

Terence C. Burnham (Contact Author)

Chapman University - The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

Orange, CA
United States

Chapman University The George L. Argyros School of Business & Economics ( email )

Orange, CA
United States

Kevin McCabe

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

321 19th Avenue South
669 Management and Economics
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-624-9393 (Phone)
612-626-7795 (Fax)

Vernon L. Smith

Chapman University - Economic Science Institute ( email )

One University Dr.
Orange, CA 92866
United States
714-628-2830 (Phone)

Chapman University School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
United States

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