What is smart in a social dilemma? differential effects of priming competence on cooperation
Version of Record online: 31 MAR 2004
Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 34, Issue 3, pages 317–332, May/June 2004
How to Cite
Utz, S., Ouwerkerk, J. W. and Van Lange, P. A. M. (2004), What is smart in a social dilemma? differential effects of priming competence on cooperation. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 34: 317–332. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.200
- Issue online: 5 MAY 2004
- Version of Record online: 31 MAR 2004
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 NOV 2003
- Manuscript Revised: 2 NOV 2003
- Manuscript Received: 12 FEB 2003
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. Grant Number: UT 35/1-1 and 35/1-2
Prior theorizing of rationality in social dilemmas suggests that individuals pursuing different interaction goals may ‘perceive’ different associations between competence and behaviour in a social dilemma, arguing that competitive individuals associate competence with noncooperation (i.e. noncooperation=smart), whereas prosocial individuals associate competence with cooperation (i.e. cooperation=smart; goal-prescribes-rationality principle, Van Lange & Kuhlman, 1994). The present research examines whether cooperative interaction can be affected by subtle activation (or priming) of competence, and whether the effects may differ for competitive versus prosocial participants. Consistent with hypotheses, two experiments revealed that priming competence yielded reduced levels of cooperation (and greater exploitation) among competitors, and yielded no effects (Experiment 1) or a tendency towards enhanced cooperation (Experiment 2) among prosocials. The discussion considers theoretical implications of relatively subtle influences on cooperative interaction in social dilemmas. Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.