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Abstract

In almost all experimental studies on choice behaviour the consequences of choices are limited to denumerable goods (usually money) and represented in a numerical way. It is argued that a different way of representing consequences would cause differences in social orientations. In an exploratory study (1) the kind of consequences (money, satisfaction with money and satisfaction with the situation) and (2) the way of representing consequences (numbers, rectangles, and faces) were varied. No differences were found between the three kinds of consequences represented by rectangles. Representation of money by numbers did not differ from representation of money by rectangles. However, subjects in the condition in which satisfaction with money was represented by faces were more cooperative and altruistic and less equality-oriented than subjects in the corresponding condition in which satisfaction with money was represented by rectangles. Additional correlational analyses showed differences between ways of representing consequences. It was concluded that both for theory and for future research it is important to consider how consequences are represented.