Promoting cooperation and trust in “noisy” situations: The power of generosity

A. Klapwijk, P.A.M. van Lange

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    Abstract

    The authors present an interdependence theoretical framework and advance the argument that generosity serves the important purpose of communicating trust, which is assumed to be of utmost importance to coping with incidents of negative noise (i.e., when the other every now and then behaves less cooperatively than intended). Using a new social dilemma task (the parcel delivery paradigm), it was hypothesized that incidents of negative noise would exert detrimental effects on trust and trust-related judgments and experiences, as well as cooperation, and that relative to tit for tat and self-regarding strategies (stingy or unconditionally cooperative strategies), other-regarding strategies (i.e., unconditional cooperation and generosity) would be more effective at reducing such as detrimental effects. Results from 2 studies provided strong support for these hypotheses, suggesting that the power of generosity is underestimated in the extant literature, especially in its ability to maintain or build trust, which is essential for coping with noise. © 2009 American Psychological Association.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-103
    JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
    Volume96
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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