Prosocials prefer equal outcomes to maximizing joint outcomes.

Abstract

Existing theories of social value orientations posit that prosocials maximize joint outcomes whereas proselfs maximize outcomes to themselves. Three studies employing a total of 157 undergraduates were conducted to test the alternative hypothesis that prosocials prefer equal outcomes to maximizing joint outcome. In study 1 participants completed the Triple-Dominance Measure of Social Values in which a fourth alternative that distributed the largest joint outcome unequally was added to the alternative that distributed the outcomes equally. In accordance with the hypothesis, prosocials preferred the equal-outcome alternative to the joint-outcome alternative. Study 2 confirmed and extended these results by demonstrating that prosocials preferred equal outcomes to larger joint outcomes that were unequally distributed but provided both with larger outcomes. Study 3 demonstrated that in a modified prisoner's dilemma game, a preference for equal outcomes to a larger joint outcome resulted in that prosocials cooperated when they believed or knew that the other cooperated, and defected when they believed or knew that the other defected.

Cite this paper

@article{Eek2006ProsocialsPE, title={Prosocials prefer equal outcomes to maximizing joint outcomes.}, author={Daniel Eek and Tommy G{\"a}rling}, journal={The British journal of social psychology}, year={2006}, volume={45 Pt 2}, pages={321-37} }