Special Session Summary Social Cognition in Strategic Decision Making

Rebecca K. Ratner, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
[ to cite ]:
Rebecca K. Ratner (2000) ,"Special Session Summary Social Cognition in Strategic Decision Making", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, eds. Stephen J. Hoch and Robert J. Meyer, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 11.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 27, 2000      Page 11



Rebecca K. Ratner, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The papers in this session examined the extent to which individuals expect others to be self-interested. When, for instance, do consumers conclude that firms are focused more on maximizing profits than meeting consumers’ needs? More generally, when do consumers expect their exchange partners (e.g., those with whom they are negotiating price and delivery terms) to make self-interested decisions? The present set of papers examined individuals’ perceptions of the extent to which others’ decisions are self-interested, how these expectations about others influence their own decisions under strategic uncertainty, and how individuals’ assumptions about the self-interestedness of others depends on the individuating information they have about their exchange partners.



Rebecca K. Ratner, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This paper examines individuals’ estimates of the extent to which others seek to maximize their own material bottom line in contexts in which one person’s gain comes at the expense of another person’s welfare. In two studies (one a hypothetical shocks study and one a prisoner’s dilemma game), the author replicates and extends the finding from a recent stream of research that indicates that people overestimate how self-interested others are (Miller and Ratner 1996, 1998). In addition, the present research offers a reinterpretation of the oft-replicated finding that groups of people are less altruistic toward another group than a solitary individual is toward another individual. The present results suggests that group members make self-interested decisions on behalf of their decision-making group because of their (mis)perception that this is the decision the other group members want them to make.



Teck-Hua Ho and Keith Weigelt, The University of Pennyslvania

The authors investigated the trust building process in a laboratory setting using a novel multi-stage trust game. Players did not know the identity of their opponents and did not expect to play them again in the future. hus, there was no prospect of future interaction to induce trusting behavior. Results show some degree of trusting behavior. However, a majority of participants were not trustworthy and claimed the entire social gain. Players were more reluctant to trust in later stages than in earlier ones and were more trustworthy if more certain of the intention of the trustee. Further, the authors find that the sub-population who invests in initiating the trust building process modifies its trusting behavior based on the relative fitness of trust.



Craig R. Fox and Chip Heath, Duke University

Results of this investigation suggest that people are averse to playing competitive games (but not non-competitive games) in situations where they feel comparatively ignorant. Participants preferred to play a coordination game (with no focal solution) against a classmate than against a flip of a coin, whereas they preferred to play against a coin flip to a classmate when playing a competitive "matching pennies" game bearing the same mixed-strategy Nash equilibrium. Moreover, people preferred to play the cooperative game against a classmate with a higher math test score than a classmate with a lower test score; however, they preferred to play the competitive game against a classmate with a lower math score than a classmate with a higher test score.