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Motivated Memory in Dictator Games

Charlotte Saucet and Marie Claire Villeval ()
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Charlotte Saucet: UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2, GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université de Lyon - UJM - Université Jean Monnet [Saint-Étienne] - Université de Lyon - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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Abstract: The memory people have of their past behavior is one of the main sources of information about themselves. To study whether people retrieve their memory self-servingly in social encounters, we designed an experiment in which participants play binary dictator games and then have to recall the amounts allocated to the receivers. We find evidence of motivated memory through selective recalls: dictators remember more their altruistic than their selfish choices. A causal effect of the responsibility of decisions is identified, as the recall asymmetry disappears when options are selected randomly by the computer program. Incentivizing memory accuracy increases the percentage of dictators' correct recalls only when they behaved altruistically. In contrast, there is no clear evidence of motivated memory through biased, i.e., overly optimistic recalls: dictators recall selectively but they do not bias strategically the direction and magnitude of these recalls.

Keywords: self-image; Motivated memory; selective recalls; dictator game; experiment; asymmetric recalls; dictator games JEL codes: (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-exp and nep-gth
Date: 2018
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01781335v2
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