Cooperation and Decision Time

Forthcoming, Current Opinion in Psychology

11 Pages Posted: 25 May 2018

See all articles by Anthony Evans

Anthony Evans

Tilburg University

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: May 14, 2018


We review two fundamentally different ways that decision time is related to cooperation. First, studies have experimentally manipulated decision time to understand how cooperation is related to the use of intuition versus deliberation. Current evidence supports the claim that time pressure (and, more generally, intuition) favors cooperation. Second, correlational studies reveal that self-paced decision times are primarily related to decision conflict, not the use of intuition or deliberation. As a result, extreme cooperation decisions occur more quickly than intermediate decisions, and the relative speed of highly cooperative versus non-cooperative decisions depends on details of the design and participant pool. Finally, we discuss interpersonal consequences of decision time: people are judged based on how quickly they cooperate, and decision time is used as a cue to predict cooperation.

Keywords: Cooperation, Social Dilemmas, Dual-process theories, Cognitive Conflict

JEL Classification: C70, C79, C90, C91, C92, D64, D70, D71, H41

Suggested Citation

Evans, Anthony and Rand, David G., Cooperation and Decision Time (May 14, 2018). Forthcoming, Current Opinion in Psychology. Available at SSRN:

Anthony Evans (Contact Author)

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC Noord-Brabant 5000 LE

David G. Rand

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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


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