Signaling Emotion and Reason in Cooperation

40 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2017  

Emma Edelman Levine

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Alixandra Barasch

New York University

David G. Rand

Yale University

Jonathan Z. Berman

London Business School - Department of Marketing

Deborah A. Small

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department; Carnegie Mellon University

Date Written: February 23, 2017

Abstract

We explore the signal value of emotion and reason in human cooperation. Across four experiments utilizing dyadic prisoner dilemma games, we establish three central results. First, individuals believe that a reliance on emotion signals that one will cooperate more so than a reliance on reason. Second, these beliefs are generally accurate — those who act based on emotion are more likely to cooperate than those who act based on reason. Third, individuals’ behavioral responses towards signals of emotion and reason depends on their own decision mode: those who rely on emotion tend to conditionally cooperate (that is, cooperate only when they believe that their partner has cooperated), whereas those who rely on reason tend to defect regardless of their partner’s signal. These findings shed light on how different decision processes, and lay theories about decision processes, facilitate and impede cooperation.

Keywords: Cooperation, Emotion, Reason, Altruism, Signaling, Prisoner's Dilemma

Suggested Citation

Levine, Emma Edelman and Barasch, Alixandra and Rand, David G. and Berman, Jonathan Z. and Small, Deborah A., Signaling Emotion and Reason in Cooperation (February 23, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2922765

Emma Edelman Levine

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Alixandra Barasch (Contact Author)

New York University ( email )

40 W. 4th St.
New York, NY 10012
United States

David G. Rand

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

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

Jonathan Z. Berman

London Business School - Department of Marketing ( email )

Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Deborah A. Small

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

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