Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Department

Psychology

First Adviser

Packer, Dominic J.

Other advisers/committee members

Gill, Michael; Burke, Christopher

Abstract

We reasoned that observing high levels of cooperation among outgroup members might be threatening, causing perceivers to expect little cooperation across group boundaries. Alternately, cooperation among outgroup members might be interpreted dispositionally, causing perceivers to expect cooperation to extend across group boundaries. Across two studies, participants were assigned to a minimal group and observed a series of players - either outgroup-pairs, ingroup-pairs or intergroup-pairs - play prisoner's dilemma games and make overwhelmingly cooperative decisions (90%). Results were consistent with the dispositional rather than the threat hypothesis. Positive cooperative expectations and dispositional inferences for outgroup targets were greatest in the outgroup-pairs condition, followed by the intergroup condition, followed by the ingroup-pairs condition. Effects were not moderated by a possible situational attribution (presence of a third party punisher). Without stereotypes or intergroup conflict, perception of outgroup targets was based on individual-level behavioral evidence - more instances of cooperation translated into stronger dispositional inferences.

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Psychology Commons

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