Cooperation, Fast and Slow: Meta-Analytic Evidence for a Theory of Social Heuristics and Self-Interested Deliberation

33 Pages Posted: 26 May 2016 Last revised: 18 Jul 2016

See all articles by David G. Rand

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Does cooperating require the inhibition of selfish urges? Or does “rational” self-interest constrain cooperative impulses? I investigated the role of intuition and deliberation in cooperation by meta-analyzing 67 studies in which cognitive-processing manipulations were applied to economic cooperation games (total N = 17,647; no indication of publication bias using Egger’s test, Begg’s test, or p-curve). My meta-analysis was guided by the Social Heuristics Hypothesis, which proposes that intuition favors behavior that typically maximizes payoffs, whereas deliberation favors behavior that maximizes one’s payoff in the current situation. Therefore, this theory predicts that deliberation will undermine pure cooperation (i.e., cooperation in settings where there are few future consequences for one’s actions, such that cooperating is not in one’s self-interest) but not strategic cooperation (i.e., cooperation in settings where cooperating can maximize one’s payoff). As predicted, the meta-analysis revealed 17.3% more pure cooperation when intuition was promoted relative to deliberation, but no significant difference in strategic cooperation between more intuitive and more deliberative conditions.

Keywords: cooperation, social cognition, self-control, dual-process models, intuition, heuristics, decision-making

JEL Classification: C70, C72, C79, C90, C92, D03, D63, D64, D69, D70, D79, D83, H41

Suggested Citation

Rand, David G., Cooperation, Fast and Slow: Meta-Analytic Evidence for a Theory of Social Heuristics and Self-Interested Deliberation (2016). Psychological Science, 2016, DOI:10.1177/0956797616654455. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2783800

David G. Rand (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.daverand.org

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