Profit versus Prejudice: Harnessing Self-Interest to Reduce In-Group Bias
Social Psychological and Personality Science, Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 25 May 2016 Last revised: 17 Feb 2017
Date Written: February 15, 2017
We examine the possibility that self-interest, typically thought to undermine social welfare, might actually be harnessed to reduce in-group bias. We compare behavior in a Dictator Game (DG), where participants unilaterally divide money between themselves and a recipient, and an Ultimatum Game (UG), where the recipient can reject the offer. Unlike the DG, there is a self-interested motive for giving in the UG: if participants expect the rejection of unfair offers, they have a monetary incentive to be fair even to out-group members. Thus we predicted that bias would be evident in the DG, but would be mitigated in the UG. We test this hypothesis in two studies (total N=3,546) employing a 2 (In-group/out-group, based on attitudes toward abortion) x 2 (DG/UG) design. As predicted, we found a significant group by game interaction such that the substantial in-group favoritism observed in the DG was almost entirely eliminated in the UG.
Keywords: Intergroup processes; Economic Games; Self Interest; In-group favoritism; Discrimination
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