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A Study of the Influence of Social Emotions and Social Norm on Fairness Behavior in Dictator Game

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Tutor: MaJianHong
School: Zhejiang University
Course: Applied Psychology
Keywords: Social Emotion,Social Norms,Fairness,Dictator Game
CLC: B842.6
Type: Master's thesis
Year:  2011
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Abstract:
As the growing of behavioral economic studies, more and more evidences casted doubt on "selfish man" hypothesis. Behavioral economist suggest that the decision making process is not completely rational and selfish. Individuals will cooperate in social dilemmas. The existence of social norms has been regarded as the one of most important reason of deviation from rationality, as well as the foundation of cooperation. People internalized kinds of social norms during their education progress, and by this way they obtained certain emotion reaction patterns. On one hand, when individual deviates from the internal norms the social emotions arouse, such as embarrassment, guilt and shame. On the other hand, emotion works as the power to restrain their behavior according to the social norms, or motivate them to compensate for the misbehavior which hurt others in their social lives. Although social emotions and social norms play important roles in social dilemmas, the present studies lack of consistence on the understanding of how the social emotions work in social dilemmas.This study employed a modified paradigm of dictator game as the basic tasks, the violation intriguers and also to test the distribution behaviors as dependent variable. There were 161 subjects participated in Experiment 1. We used a 2 (high, low preference of distribution)¡Á2 (control, relatively fair intriguer, unfair intriguer) mixed experiment design. We discussed the initial norms and intriguers on social emotions and distributive behaviors. In experiment 2, there were 96 subjects attended, and we used 2 (initial norms:high, low)¡Á2 (independent choice, random choice) mixed design, and we discussed influence of these 2 variables on social emotions and distributive behaviors.Our study found that:1. Guilt, shame and embarrassment can enhance the conformity of equality in dictator games.2. The individuals who have internalized fairness norm experience stronger guilt when they choose advantageous inequality payoff,3. Social norm preference plays as moderate variable between inequity and social emotions.4. The individuals who have less fairness preference experience stronger positive emotions such as pride and happy.5. When the inequality payoff was chosen independently by the subjects themselves, they will experience more guilt, shame and embarrassment6. If the payoff was chosen randomly, subjects will experience stronger positive emotions.
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