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Using Cognitive Dissonance to Manipulate Social Preferences

Robert Oxoby and Alexander Smith ()
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Alexander Smith: U.S. Military Academy, West Point

No 8310, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: We explore the role of cognitive dissonance in dictator and public goods games. Specifically, we motivate cognitive dissonance between one's perception of “fair treatment” and self-interested behaviour by having participants answer a question about fairness. Utilizing two manipulations (reminding participants about their answer to the fairness question and publicly reporting aggregate answers to the question), we find that there is greater cognitive dissonance and behavioural change when there is a social component (i.e., reporting of aggregate answers). When a participant's answer to the fairness question is private, there is less dissonance and hence no behavioural change.

Keywords: cognitive dissonance; experiments; social preferences (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D64 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 17 pages
Date: 2014-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-evo, nep-exp, nep-hme and nep-neu
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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