Individual differences in decision making: Drive and reward responsiveness affect strategic bargaining in economic games
SourceBehavioral and Brain Functions, 2, 1, (2006), article 35
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
SW OZ BSI SCP
Behavioral and Brain Functions
SubjectBehaviour Change and Well-being; Social Development
Background In the growing body of literature on economic decision making, the main focus has typically been on explaining aggregate behavior, with little interest in individual differences despite considerable between-subject variability in decision responses. In this study, we were interested in asking to what degree individual differences in fundamental psychological processes can mediate economic decision-making behavior. Methods Specifically, we studied a personality dimension that may influence economic decision-making, the Behavioral Activation System, (BAS) which is composed of three components: Reward Responsiveness, Drive, and Fun Seeking. In order to assess economic decision making, we utilized two commonly-used tasks, the Ultimatum Game and Dictator Game. Individual differences in BAS were measured by completion of the BIS/BAS Scales, and correlations between the BAS scales and monetary offers made in the two tasks were computed. Results We found that higher scores on BAS Drive and on BAS Reward Responsiveness were associated with a pattern of higher offers on the Ultimatum Game, lower offers on the Dictator Game, and a correspondingly larger discrepancy between Ultimatum Game and Dictator Game offers. Conclusion These findings are consistent with an interpretation that high scores on Drive and Reward Responsiveness are associated with a strategy that first seeks to maximize the likelihood of reward, and then to maximize the amount of reward. More generally, these results suggest that there are additional factors other than empathy, fairness and selfishness that contribute to strategic decision-making.
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