- Nat Hum BehavCorrupt third parties undermine trust and prosocial behaviour between peopleSpadaro, Giuliana, Molho, Catherine, Van Prooijen, Jan-Willem, Romano, Angelo, Mosso, Cristina O., and Van Lange, Paul A. M.Nature Human Behaviour 2022
Corruption is a pervasive phenomenon that affects the quality of institutions, undermines economic growth and exacerbates inequalities around the globe. Here we tested whether perceiving representatives of institutions as corrupt undermines trust and subsequent prosocial behaviour among strangers. We developed an experimental game paradigm modelling representatives as third-party punishers to manipulate or assess corruption and examine its relationship with trust and prosociality (trust behaviour, cooperation and generosity). In a sequential dyadic die-rolling task, the participants observed the dishonest behaviour of a target who would subsequently serve as a third-party punisher in a trust game (Study 1a, N = 540), in a prisoner’s dilemma (Study 1b, N = 503) and in dictator games (Studies 2–4, N = 765, pre-registered). Across these five studies, perceiving a third party as corrupt undermined interpersonal trust and, in turn, prosocial behaviour. These findings contribute to our understanding of the critical role that representatives of institutions play in shaping cooperative relationships in modern societies.
- Curr Opin PsycholProsocial and punishment behaviors in everyday lifeCurrent Opinion in Psychology, 2022
Theory and experiments suggest people have different strategies (1) to condition their prosocial behavior in ways that maximize individual benefits and (2) to punish others who have exploited their own and others’ prosocial behaviors. To date, most research testing existing theories has relied on experiments. However, documenting prosocial and punishment behaviors outside of the laboratory via experience sampling and diary methods can yield additional, rich insights. Recent work demonstrates these methods can describe social behaviors in daily life and be used to test theory about how behaviors change across situations and relationships. These methods have exposed discrepancies between what people experience in daily life and the problems researchers want to solve to understand the nature of human prosociality.
- Curr Opin PsycholSubjective interdependence and prosocial behaviourColumbus, Simon, and Molho, CatherineCurrent Opinion in Psychology, 2022
Interdependence describes the mutual control different individuals have over their own and others’ outcomes. Recent research suggests that interdependence is mentally represented along dimensions of mutual dependence, conflict (vs correspondence) of interests, and relative power. People construe interdependence from cues in their social environment, but subjective perceptions are also influenced by stable individual differences. Importantly, perceptions of interdependence are associated with prosocial behaviour. Perceived conflict of interests, in particular, is detrimental to prosociality, whereas mutual dependence can foster prosocial behaviour. Further, perceived conflict of interests and power may together shape cooperative outcomes. Future research may help elucidate the roots of cross-cultural differences in subjective interdependence and examine how formal and informal institutions promote prosocial behaviour by shifting our perceptions of interdependence.
- J Cross Cult PsyPerceptions of emotional functionality: Similarities and differences among dignity, face, and honor culturesMaitner, Angela T., DeCoster, Jamie, Andersson, Per A., Eriksson, Kimmo, Sherbaji, Sara, Giner-Sorolla, Roger, Mackie, Diane M., Aveyard, Mark, Claypool, Heather M., Crisp, Richard J., Gritskov, Vladimir, Habjan, Kristina, Hartanto, Andree, Kiyonari, Toko, Kuzminska, Anna O., Manesi, Zoi, Molho, Catherine, Munasinghe, Anudhi, Peperkoorn, Leonard S., Shiramizu, Victor, Smallman, Rachel, Soboleva, Natalia, Stivers, Adam W., Summerville, Amy, Wu, Baopei, and Wu, JunhuiJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 2022
Emotions are linked to wide sets of action tendencies, and it can be difficult to predict which specific action tendency will be motivated or indulged in response to individual experiences of emotion. Building on a functional perspective of emotion, we investigate whether anger and shame connect to different behavioral intentions in dignity, face, and honor cultures. Using simple animations that showed perpetrators taking resources from victims, we conducted two studies across eleven countries investigating the extent to which participants expected victims to feel anger and shame, how they thought victims should respond to such violations, and how expectations of emotions were affected by enacted behavior. Across cultures, anger was associated with desires to reclaim resources or alert others to the violation. In face and honor cultures, but not dignity cultures, shame was associated with the desire for aggressive retaliation. However, we found that when victims indulged motivationally-relevant behavior, expected anger and shame were reduced and satisfaction increased in similar ways across cultures. Results suggest similarities and differences in expectations of how emotions functionally elicit behavioral responses across cultures.
- Z PsycholWhat motivates direct and indirect punishment? Extending the ‘intuitive retributivism’ hypothesisZeitschrift für Psychologie, 2022
Punishment represents a key mechanism to deter norm violations and is motivated by retribution and/or general deterrence. Retribution-motivated punishment is tailored to offense severity, whereas deterrence-motivated punishment is tailored to different factors, including punishment observability. This study aimed to replicate and extend prior work by testing how offense severity and punishment observability motivate direct, confrontational punishment versus indirect, covert punishment. Participants (N = 308) read vignettes describing offenses with varying severity (high versus low) and punishment observability (high versus low). We then assessed their punishment tendencies—overall, direct, and indirect—and their endorsement of retribution and deterrence motives. Findings supported a ‘strong version’ of intuitive retributivism. Manipulating retribution-relevant information consistently influenced punishment: participants reported stronger overall, direct, and indirect punishment tendencies when severity was high (versus low). Self-reported deterrence (but not retribution) motives positively related to overall, direct, and indirect punishment tendencies. However, manipulating deterrence-relevant information did not influence punishment.
- Curr Opin PsycholPsychological science for a responsible sharing economyCurrent Opinion in Psychology, 2022
The sharing economy is fueled by trust, which allows strangers to cooperate. To share responsibly, one needs to be aware of the various consequences sharing has on interacting and third parties. When transparency about such consequences is lacking, mutual trust among interacting parties may encourage people to cooperate and share, in turn creating unintended negative impact. Psychologists have long studied trust and cooperation, yet few insights from psychological science have been used to understand the sharing economy. Here, we propose that evoking trust may paradoxically increase motivated information processing leading people to share irresponsibly by ignoring the negative consequences sharing has on others. We review three conditions under which evoking trust may lead to irresponsible sharing: ethical blind spots, willful ignorance, and misinformation. We propose that transparent information is key to enable and encourage responsible sharing. More psychological research is needed to better understand how this flourishing, trust-based industry can be shaped to encourage safe, cooperative, and responsible sharing.
- J Pers Soc PsyInterdependence and cooperation in daily lifeJournal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2021
Philosophers and scientists have long debated the nature of human social interactions and the prevalence of mutual dependence, conflict of interests, and power asymmetry in social situations. Yet, there is surprisingly little empirical work documenting the patterns of interdependence that people experience in daily life. We use experience sampling to study how people think about 3 dimensions of interdependence in daily life and how these dimensions relate to cooperation. In Study 1, 139 romantic couples (n = 278) reported on situations experienced with their partner (k = 6,766); in Study 2, individuals (n = 284) reported on situations experienced with any other person (k = 7,248), over the course of 1 week. Across both samples, we found that most social interactions were perceived as containing moderate mutual dependence, equal power, and corresponding interests. When couples reported on the same situation (Study 1), they largely agreed on their experienced interdependence and cooperation, suggesting that their reports reflect an underlying shared reality. In daily interactions across both samples, higher mutual dependence and lower conflict of interests were associated with more cooperation, whereas relative power was not directly related to cooperation. These associations replicated in laboratory experiments (Study 2). In daily life, high mutual dependence and high relative power exacerbated the negative relation between conflict of interests and cooperation. Finally, prevalent patterns of interdependence and the experience of specific interdependent situations affected multiple relationship outcomes. Our findings stress the importance of studying a diverse array of interdependent situations—and especially situations with corresponding interests—to better understand cooperation in daily life.
- Phil Trans BGossip and reputation in everyday lifeDores Cruz, Terence D., Thielmann, Isabel, Columbus, Simon, Molho, Catherine, Wu, Junhui, Righetti, Francesca, De Vries, Reinout E., Koutsoumpis, Antonis, Van Lange, Paul A. M., Beersma, Bianca, and Balliet, DanielPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2021
Gossip—a sender communicating to a receiver about an absent third party—is hypothesized to impact reputation formation, partner selection, and cooperation. Laboratory experiments have found that people gossip about others' cooperativeness and that they use gossip to condition their cooperation. Here, we move beyond the laboratory and test several predictions from theories of indirect reciprocity and reputation-based partner selection about the content of everyday gossip and how people use it to update the reputation of others in their social network. In a Dutch community sample (N = 309), we sampled daily events in which people either sent or received gossip about a target over 10 days (ngossip = 5284). Gossip senders frequently shared information about targets’ cooperativeness and did so in ways that minimize potential retaliation from targets. Receivers overwhelmingly believed gossip to be true and updated their evaluation of targets based on gossip. In turn, a positive shift in the evaluation of a target was associated with higher intentions to help them in future interactions, and with lower intentions to avoid them in the future. Thus, gossip is used in daily life to impact and update reputations in a way that enables partner selection and indirect reciprocity.
- Phil Trans BDirect punishment and indirect reputation-based tactics to intervene against offencesMolho, Catherine, and Wu, JunhuiPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2021
Punishment and reputation-based mechanisms play a major role in supporting the evolution of human cooperation. Theoretical accounts and field observations suggest that humans use multiple tactics to intervene against offences—including confrontation, gossip and ostracism—which have unique benefits and costs. Here, we draw a distinction between direct punishment tactics (i.e. physical and verbal confrontation) and indirect reputation-based tactics (i.e. gossip and ostracism). Based on this distinction, we sketch the common and unique social functions that different tactics are tailored to serve and describe information-processing mechanisms that potentially underlie decisions concerning how to intervene against offences. We propose that decision rules guiding direct and indirect tactics should weigh information about the benefits of changing others' behaviour versus the costs of potential retaliation. Based on a synthesis of existing evidence, we highlight the role of situational, relational and emotional factors in motivating distinct punishment tactics. We suggest that delineating between direct and indirect tactics can inform debates about the prevalence and functions of punishment and the reputational consequences of third-party intervention against offences. We emphasize the need to study how people use reputation-based tactics for partner recalibration and partner choice, within interdependent relationships and social networks, and in daily life situations.
- Nat CommunDirect and indirect punishment of norm violations in daily lifeNature Communications, 2020
Across societies, humans punish norm violations. To date, research on the antecedents and consequences of punishment has largely relied upon agent-based modeling and laboratory experiments. Here, we report a longitudinal study documenting punishment responses to norm violations in daily life (k = 1507; N = 257) and test pre-registered hypotheses about the antecedents of direct punishment (i.e., confrontation) and indirect punishment (i.e., gossip and social exclusion). We find that people use confrontation versus gossip in a context-sensitive manner. Confrontation is more likely when punishers have been personally victimized, have more power, and value offenders more. Gossip is more likely when norm violations are severe and when punishers have less power, value offenders less, and experience disgust. Findings reveal a complex punishment psychology that weighs the benefits of adjusting others’ behavior against the risks of retaliation.
- PLoS OneThe prevalence of dyads in social lifePeperkoorn, Leonard S., Becker, Vaughn D., Balliet, Daniel, Columbus, Simon, Molho, Catherine, and Van Lange, Paul A. M.PLOS ONE, 2020
A salient objective feature of the social environment in which people find themselves is group size. Knowledge of group size is highly relevant to behavioural scientists given that humans spend considerable time in social settings and the number of others influences much of human behaviour. What size of group do people actually look for and encounter in everyday life? Here we report four survey studies and one experience-sampling study (total N = 4,398) which provide evidence for the predominance of the dyad in daily life. Relative to larger group sizes, dyads are most common across a wide range of activities (e.g., conversations, projects, holidays, movies, sports, bars) obtained from three time moments (past activities, present, and future activities), sampling both mixed-sex and same-sex groups, with three different methodological approaches (retrospective reports, real-time data capture, and preference measures) in the United States and the Netherlands. We offer four mechanisms that may help explain this finding: reciprocity, coordination, social exclusion, and reproduction. The present findings advance our understanding of how individuals organize themselves in everyday life.
- Int J EnvironFostering attachment security: The role of interdependent situationsRighetti, Francesca, Balliet, Daniel, Molho, Catherine, Columbus, Simon, Faure, Ruddy, Bahar, Yaprak, Iqmal, Muhammad, Semenchenko, Anna, and Arriaga, XimenaInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020
This work adopts an Interdependence Theory framework to investigate how the features of interdependent situations that couples face in their daily life (i.e., situations in which partners influence each other’s outcomes) shape attachment security toward their current partners. An experience sampling study examined attachment tendencies and features of interdependent situations that people experience with their partner in daily life to predict satisfaction and trust in their relationship, and changes in attachment avoidance and anxiety toward their partner over time. Results revealed that encountering situations with corresponding outcomes (i.e., situations in which both partners have the same preferences) and with information certainty (i.e., situations in which there is clear knowledge of each partner’s preferences) assuage people’s insecurity. On the contrary, situations of mutual current and future interdependence (i.e., situations in which each person’s current or future outcomes are dependent on their partner’s behavior) undermined security for anxiously attached individuals. Power (i.e., the asymmetry in partners’ dependence) was not related to attachment security. This work underscores the importance of studying the role of the situations that partners experience in their daily life and the way they are related to relationship feelings and cognitions.
- Collabra PsycholDisgust, anger, and aggression: Further tests of the equivalence of moral emotionsTybur, Joshua M., Molho, Catherine, Cakmak, Begum, Dores Cruz, Terence D., Singh, Gaurav Deep, and Zwicker, MariaCollabra: Psychology, 2020
People often report disgust toward moral violations. Some perspectives posit that this disgust is indistinct from anger. Here, we replicate and extend recent work suggesting that disgust and anger toward moral violations are in fact distinct in terms of the situations in which they are activated and their correspondence with aggressive sentiments. We tested three hypotheses concerning emotional responses to moral violations: (1) disgust is associated with lower-cost, indirectly aggressive motives (e.g., gossip and social exclusion), whereas anger is associated with higher-cost, directly aggressive motives (e.g., physical violence); (2) disgust is higher toward violations affecting others than it is toward violations affecting the self, and anger is higher toward violations affecting the self than it is toward violations affecting others; and (3) abilities to inflict costs on or withhold benefits from others (measured via physical strength and physical attractiveness, respectively) relate to anger, but not to disgust. These hypotheses were tested in a within-subjects study in which 233 participants came to the lab twice and reported their emotional responses and aggressive sentiments toward self-targeting and other-targeting moral violations. Participants’ upper body strength and physical attractiveness were also measured with a dynamometer and photograph ratings, respectively. The first two hypotheses were supported – disgust (but not anger) was related to indirect aggression whereas anger (but not disgust) was related to direct aggression, and disgust was higher toward other-targeting violations whereas anger was higher toward self-targeting violations. However, physical strength and physical attractiveness were unrelated to anger or disgust or to endorsements of direct or indirect aggression.
- J Exp Soc PsycholDisgust sensitivity and opposition to immigration: Does contact avoidance or resistance to foreign norms explain the relationship?Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2019
Past research suggests that pathogen-avoidance motives (e.g., disgust sensitivity) relate to greater opposition to immigration. Two accounts have been proposed to explain this relationship, one of which emphasizes proximally avoiding outgroups, and the other of which emphasizes adherence to traditional norms. According to the former, immigrants are perceived as being more infectious because they carry novel pathogens due to their foreign ecological origins. According to the latter, immigrants' foreign norms are perceived as posing a pathogen threat. This study aimed to disentangle these accounts. Participants (N = 975) were randomly assigned to read a description of an immigrant who had high or low contact with locals and high or low assimilation to local norms. The effect of disgust sensitivity on sentiments toward the immigrant (and immigrants like him) was compared across conditions. Results supported the traditional norms account: disgust sensitivity related to anti-immigrant sentiments when the immigrant was described as not assimilating to local norms, but not when he was described as assimilating. Contrary to the outgroup avoidance account, the relationship between disgust sensitivity and anti-immigrant sentiments did not vary across the high-contact and low-contact conditions. Results suggest that resistance to foreign norms, rather than avoidance of novel pathogens, better explains the relationship between pathogen avoidance and outgroup prejudice.
- GamesHierarchy, power, and strategies to promote cooperation in social dilemmasGames, 2019
Previous research on cooperation has primarily focused on egalitarian interactions, overlooking a fundamental feature of social life: hierarchy and power asymmetry. While recent accounts posit that hierarchies can reduce within-group coflict, individuals who possess high rank or power tend to show less cooperation. How, then, is cooperation achieved within groups that contain power asymmetries? To address this question, the present research examines how relative power affects cooperation and strategies, such as punishment and gossip, to promote cooperation in social dilemmas. In two studies involving online real-time interactions in dyads (N = 246) and four-person groups (N = 371), we manipulate power by varying individuals’ ability to distribute resources in a dictator game, and measure punishment, gossip, and cooperative behaviors in a multi-round public goods game. Findings largely replicate previous research showing that punishment and gossip opportunities increase contributions to public goods in four-person groups. However, we fnd no support for the hypotheses that power directly affects cooperation or the use of punishment and gossip to promote cooperation. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the influence of hierarchy and power on cooperation within dyads and groups.
- J Pers Soc PsychHow do people think about interdependence? A multidimensional model of subjective outcome interdependence.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2018
Interdependence is a fundamental characteristic of social interactions. Interdependence Theory states that 6 dimensions describe differences between social situations. Here we examine if these 6 dimensions describe how people think about their interdependence with others in a situation. We find that people (in situ and ex situ) can reliably differentiate situations according to 5, but not 6, dimensions of interdependence: (a) mutual dependence, (b) power, (c) conflict, (d) future interdependence, and (e) information certainty. This model offers a unique framework for understanding how people think about social situations compared to another recent model of situation construal (DIAMONDS). Furthermore, we examine factors that are theorized to shape perceptions of interdependence, such as situational cues (e.g., nonverbal behavior) and personality (e.g., HEXACO and Social Value Orientation). We also study the implications of subjective interdependence for emotions and cooperative behavior during social interactions. This model of subjective interdependence explains substantial variation in the emotions people experience in situations (i.e., happiness, sadness, anger, and disgust), and explains 24% of the variance in cooperation, above and beyond the DIAMONDS model. Throughout these studies, we develop and validate a multidimensional measure of subjective outcome interdependence that can be used in diverse situations and relationships—the Situational Interdependence Scale (SIS). We discuss how this model of interdependence can be used to better understand how people think about social situations encountered in close relationships, organizations, and society.
- Navigating interdependent social situationsMolho, Catherine, and Balliet, DanielIn The Oxford Handbook of Psychological Situations, 2017
Interdependence is a fundamental characteristic of social situations. Yet, in everyday life, people rarely have direct knowledge about how their own and others’ decisions influence desired outcomes. The chapter discusses two models of objective differences in interdependent situations and then outlines three theoretical approaches to understanding how people form interdependence perceptions: an experiential learning approach, a mental templates approach, and functional interdependence theory. It then reviews recent innovations in the measurement of interdependence perceptions across situations. It describes how these theoretical approaches and measures can be used to investigate (a) the cues that people use to infer interdependence, (b) the common forms of interdependence people experience in their daily lives, (c) the importance of future interdependence and biased inferences, and (d) the role of personality in shaping interdependence perceptions. It concludes with discussing how recent research on interdependence perceptions can be integrated with existing empirical findings on taxonomies of psychological situations.
- Manag Organ RevCultural universals and cultural differences in meta-norms about peer punishmentEriksson, Kimmo, Strimling, Pontus, Andersson, Per A., Aveyard, Mark, Brauer, Markus, Gritskov, Vladimir, Kiyonari, Toko, Kuhlman, David M., Maitner, Angela T., Manesi, Zoi, Molho, Catherine, Peperkoorn, Leonard S., Rizwan, Muhammad, Stivers, Adam W., Tian, Qirui, Van Lange, Paul A. M., Vartanova, Irina, Wu, Junhui, and Yamagishi, ToshioManagement and Organization Review, 2017
Violators of cooperation norms may be informally punished by their peers. How such norm enforcement is judged by others can be regarded as a meta-norm (i.e., a second-order norm). We examined whether meta-norms about peer punishment vary across cultures by having students in eight countries judge animations in which an agent who over-harvested a common resource was punished either by a single peer or by the entire peer group. Whether the punishment was retributive or restorative varied between two studies, and findings were largely consistent across these two types of punishment. Across all countries, punishment was judged as more appropriate when implemented by the entire peer group than by an individual. Differences between countries were revealed in judgments of punishers vs. non-punishers. Specifically, appraisals of punishers were relatively negative in three Western countries and Japan, and more neutral in Pakistan, UAE, Russia, and China, consistent with the influence of individualism, power distance, and/or indulgence. Our studies constitute a first step in mapping how meta-norms vary around the globe, demonstrating both cultural universals and cultural differences.
- Psychol SciDisgust and anger relate to different aggressive responses to moral violationsPsychological Science, 2017
In response to the same moral violation, some people report experiencing anger, and others report feeling disgust. Do differences in emotional responses to moral violations reflect idiosyncratic differences in the communication of outrage, or do they reflect differences in motivational states? Whereas equivalence accounts suggest that anger and disgust are interchangeable expressions of condemnation, sociofunctional accounts suggest that they have distinct antecedents and consequences. We tested these accounts by investigating whether anger and disgust vary depending on the costs imposed by moral violations and whether they differentially correspond with aggressive tendencies. Results across four studies favor a sociofunctional account: When the target of a moral violation shifts from the self to another person, anger decreases, but disgust increases. Whereas anger is associated with high-cost, direct aggression, disgust is associated with less costly indirect aggression. Finally, whether the target of a moral violation is the self or another person influences direct aggression partially via anger and influences indirect aggression partially via disgust.
- Pers Individ DifferThe six dimensions of personality (HEXACO) and their associations with network layer size and emotional closeness to network membersPersonality and Individual Differences, 2016
Previous work has examined how specific personality dimensions are associated with social network characteristics. However, it is unclear how the full range of personality traits relates to the quantity and quality of relationships at different network layers. This study (N = 525) investigates how the six HEXACO personality dimensions relate to the size of support and sympathy groups, and to the level of emotional closeness to network members. Extraversion was positively related to support group size, but did not significantly relate to sympathy group size or emotional closeness. Openness to Experience and Emotionality were positively related to support group size, but not to the size of the sympathy group. Honesty–Humility, but not Agreeableness, was positively related to emotional closeness to members of the sympathy group. Findings suggest that personality effects vary across network layers and highlight the importance of considering both emotional closeness and network size.
- Evol Hum BehavIs the relationship between pathogen avoidance and ideological conservatism explained by sexual strategies?Evolution and Human Behavior, 2015
Multiple recent studies report that measures of pathogen avoidance (e.g., disgust sensitivity) correlate with political ideology. This relationship has been interpreted as suggesting that certain political views (specifically, those views that are categorized as socially conservative) function to mitigate the pathogen threats posed either by intergroup interactions or by departures from traditional societal norms, which sometimes evolve culturally for anti-pathogen functions. We propose and test the alternative hypothesis that pathogen avoidance relates to conservatism indirectly via sexual strategies (e.g., relatively monogamous versus relatively promiscuous). Specifically, we argue that individuals who are more invested in avoiding pathogens follow a more monogamous mating strategy to mitigate against pathogens transmitted during sexual contact, and individuals following a more monogamous mating strategy adopt socially conservative political ideologies to support their reproductive interests. Results from three studies (N's = 819, 238, and 248) using multiple measures of pathogen avoidance, sexual strategies, and ideology support this account, with sexual strategies fully mediating the relationship between measures of pathogen avoidance and conservatism in each study.
- Evol Hum BehavPathogen disgust requires no defense: a response to Shook, Terrizzi, Clay, & Oosterhoff (2015)Evolution and Human Behavior, 2015
We thank Shook, Terrizzi, Clay, and Oosterhoff (STCO) for their careful reading of our paper (Tybur, Inbar, Güler, & Molho, 2015). We will briefly address their statistical critiques, which are specific to our paper, before commenting on issues of measurement and theory, which are relevant to this broader literature.