Although traditional economic game theory relies on the assumption that players are rational and strictly self-interested, research shows behavioral and social factors contribute to people’s decision-making. This study investigates whether five minutes of conversation between two players who did not know each other prompts them to contribute more money to a shared account in a two-player cooperation game. In the game, public good is maximized if both players put everything in the shared account, but choosing to keep some money in a player’s personal account often results in higher personal gains. We hypothesized that conversation time would lead to decreased social distance and greater shared account contributions, but our results did not show a significant difference in the group of players that conversed before playing. While five minutes of conversation might not be enough to decrease social distance and inspire greater shared account contributions, we suggest further study to observe the effects of other, already established relationships.
This research was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).
Social distance in cooperation games: Examining the effect of conversation between players.
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