Date

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

First Adviser

Gill, Michael J.

Abstract

The existing literature on social dilemmas has demonstrated that personal values and situational cues often interact to predict cooperative decisions in social dilemma tasks. We propose, however, that whether or not situational cues, such as the framing of the task or perceptions of others involved, effectively motivate decision-makers to act upon their values is ultimately influenced by whether or not decision-makers identify with the other parties involved. This notion of identification seems particularly pertinent when a social dilemma task involves parties from diverse national backgrounds. Across two studies, participants living in the United States of America completed an online global public goods game in which personal values were measured and situational factors were manipulated. Specifically, in Study 1 (N = 299), we manipulated the framing of the decision-making task (moral vs. economic) and identification with ethnically diverse others (high vs. low). We found that the relationship between personal moral values and global cooperation was strengthened when identification with ethnically diverse others was high compared to low but only when the task was framed in moral terms. In Study 2 (N = 356), we manipulated the perceived need of the international group members involved in the task (high vs. low) and identification with ethnically diverse others (high vs. low). We found that the relationship between personal moral values and global cooperation was strengthened when identification with ethnically diverse others was high compared to low but only when the perceived need of others was high. Overall, these results underscore the integral role of identification in determining whether or not moral values are enacted in the presence of morally-relevant cues.

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