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Exploring cooperation and competition in the Centipede game through verbal protocol analysis

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journal contribution
posted on 14.06.2016, 12:41 by Eva M. Krockow, Andrew M. Colman, Briony D. Pulford
The Centipede game is an abstract model of reciprocal relationships where two individuals alternate in helping each other at relatively small personal cost. Whereas mutual cooperation can benefit both individuals in the long run, a paradoxical but logically compelling backward induction argument shows that cooperation is irrational. Empirical studies have reported reliable deviations from the non-cooperative backward induction solution, but their exclusively quantitative methods allow only a limited range of predefined motives to be explored. Our study uses verbal (‘think aloud’) protocols and qualitative data analysis to identify motives for cooperation in the Centipede game. The results provide little evidence for sophisticated backward induction reasoning. Instead, a wide range of motives emerged, their relative saliences varying according to the stage of the game. Activity bias affected decisions mainly at the beginning of the game, whereas cooperative and altruistic social value orientations most frequently accounted for cooperation towards its natural end.

History

Citation

European Journal of Social Psychology, 2016, 46 (6), pp. 746–761

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/MBSP Non-Medical Departments/Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Published in

European Journal of Social Psychology

Publisher

Wiley

issn

0046-2772

eissn

1099-0992

Acceptance date

29/05/2016

Copyright date

2016

Available date

11/07/2017

Publisher version

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.2226/abstract

Notes

The file associated with this record is under a 12-month embargo from publication in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en