Understanding and Intuitive Cooperation
31 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 9, 2018
Are humans intuitively cooperative, or does reflection foster cooperation? The Social Heuristics Hypothesis (SHH) proposes that intuition promotes cooperation, but the evidence is inconsistent across studies. We combine a lab experiment with a re-analysis of existing studies to test for an effect of time-pressure on cooperation. We suggest – based on a meta-study of about 12.000 subjects from lab and online experiments across the world - that time pressure only influences cooperation if subjects understand they are engaged in a social dilemma. This finding increases the relevance of the SHH for experiments in behavioral economics as such experiments typically take great care to ensure subject understanding. Moreover, while our findings are intuitively consistent with the Social Heuristics Hypothesis, our evidence suggests that future theoretical research should aim to explicitly incorporate the link between understanding, cognitive processes and cooperation.
Keywords: Cooperation, Intuition, Dual-Process, Public Goods Game
JEL Classification: C72, C91, C92, D03
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation