Coping with noise in social dilemmas: Group representatives fare worse than individuals because they lack trust in others’ benign intentions

Christopher P. Reinders Folmer*, Tim Wildschut, David De Cremer, Paul A.M. van Lange

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Research on interindividual–intergroup discontinuity has illuminated distinct patterns of cognition, motivation, and behavior in interindividual versus intergroup contexts. However, it has examined these processes in laboratory environments with perfect transparency, whereas real-life interactions are often characterized by noise (i.e., misperceptions and unintended errors). This research compared interindividual and intergroup interactions in the presence or absence of noise. In a laboratory experiment, participants played 35 rounds of a dyadic give-some dilemma, in which they acted as individuals or group representatives. Noise was manipulated, such that players’ intentions either were perfectly translated into behavior or could deviate from their intentions in certain rounds (resulting in less cooperative behavior). Noise was more detrimental to cooperation in intergroup contexts than in interindividual contexts, because (a) participants who formed benign impressions of the other player coped better with noise, and (b) participants were less likely to form such benign impressions in intergroup than interindividual interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-214
Number of pages15
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Volume22
Issue number2
Early online date17 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • cooperation
  • discontinuity effect
  • interdependence
  • intergroup conflict
  • noise
  • social dilemma

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