Combatting the Joy of Destruction with Pro-Social Behavior

27 Pages Posted: 15 Jun 2016

See all articles by Calvin Blackwell

Calvin Blackwell

College of Charleston - School of Business

Zachary Diamond

College of Charleston

Date Written: June 8, 2016

Abstract

In this experiment we examine the impact of hugs (a pro-social behavior) upon behavior in the Joy of Destruction (JoD) game. Previous research on JoD indicates that up to 40% of experimental participants will choose to lower another participant's earnings even in the absence of any incentive to do so. Building upon previous work indicating that hugs cause oxytocin to be released in the human brain, and that oxytocin can increase “moral” behavior, we hypothesize that hugging will reduce the spiteful behavior typically exhibited in the JoD. We find evidence to support this hypothesis. We also examine the role of personality, and find no correlation between scores on either the Big Five Inventory or the Mach-IV Inventory and behavior in the JoD.

Keywords: Joy of Destruction, Pro-Social Behavior, Oxytocin, Hug

JEL Classification: D64

Suggested Citation

Blackwell, Calvin and Diamond, Zachary, Combatting the Joy of Destruction with Pro-Social Behavior (June 8, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2795625 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2795625

Calvin Blackwell (Contact Author)

College of Charleston - School of Business ( email )

Department of Economics
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
United States
843-953-7836 (Phone)
843-953-5697 (Fax)

Zachary Diamond

College of Charleston ( email )

66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424
United States

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