This research was supported, in part, by a grant to Mark Van Vugt and Ree Meertens from the Netherlands Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, and by a grant to Paul Van Lange from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO; Grant No. R-57–178). Part of this research was presented at the Nags Head conference on social value orientations, Highland Beach, Florida, July 1993. The authors thank Jeff Joireman, Gerjo Kok, and Wim Liebrand for their helpful comments on an earlier draft of the paper.
Car Versus Public Transportation? The Role of Social Value Orientations in a Real-Life Social Dilemma1
Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 25, Issue 3, pages 258–278, February 1995
How to Cite
Van Vugt, M., Meertens, R. M. and Van Lange, P. A. M. (1995), Car Versus Public Transportation? The Role of Social Value Orientations in a Real-Life Social Dilemma. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 25: 258–278. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1995.tb01594.x
- Issue published online: 31 JUL 2006
- Article first published online: 31 JUL 2006
This research evaluates the role of social value orientations (i.e., preferences for distribution of outcomes for the self and others) in decisions as how to commute. It was proposed that the commuting situation could be viewed either as an environmental issue, reflecting the decision structure of an N-person Prisoner's Dilemma, or as an accessibility problem, reflecting the decision structure of an N-person Chicken Dilemma. On the basis of interdependence theory (Kelley & Thibaut, 1978) it was predicted that people who are primarily concerned with the collective welfare—prosocial individuals—would prefer commuting by public transportation when other commuters were expected to go by public transportation. On the other hand, it was hypothesized that people who are primarily concerned with their own well-being—proself individuals—would prefer commuting by public transportation when others were expected to go by car. The obtained findings were consistent with these expectations. Practical and theoretical implications regarding the link between social value orientations and environmentally relevant behavior will be discussed.