Spring 2015

DSC Research Forum Abstracts


Puja Bhattacharya

Inter-Team Contests with Asymmetric Power Differential

We explore how discrimination and differing costs of participation between teams engaged in an interteam contest impact behavior, asking how being advantaged or disadvantaged influences contributions. We find both advantaged and disadvantaged teams contribute much more than theory predicts, but in such a way that ex-post winning probabilities of the contests are consistent with theoretical predictions. At the individual level, contributions are predicted by beliefs about own and opponent team contributions. We find free riding is more common for disadvantaged team members.


Anthony J. Bradfield and Gabriel Englander (Received top abstract award)

Forgiveness: Do Grand Gestures Work?

We extend an indefinitely-repeated prisoner’s dilemma game into an asymmetric buyer-seller game to investigate the role of (seller offered) reward on cooperation under different monitoring conditions.  We predict that allowing reward will increase cooperation more when monitoring is imperfect than when monitoring is perfect; however, results show just the opposite.  Buyers are more cooperative in all treatments with reward and even slightly more so under imperfect monitoring.  However, sellers cooperate much less under imperfect monitoring, as reward crowds out cooperation.  Under perfect monitoring, sellers face immediate punishment upon defecting, so they cooperate at identical rates when rewards are available.


Eun Bin Chung (Received top abstract award)

Overcoming the History Problem: Group-Affirmation and Trust in International Relations

How do countries with a history of conflict and colonialism overcome mistrust? In contrast to studies that advocate the erosion of existing identities, or a submersion of them into an overarching common ingroup-identity, I argue that strengthening a sense of independent nations can increase international trust. Lab-in-the-field evidence from 1118 individuals in China, Japan, and South Korea suggests that affirming country values increased trust between citizens of these countries. Trust was measured in two ways: through a trust game, and survey questions. The implications of the study propose a more realistic route to trust-building than an erosion of national identities.


Paul DeBell

The politics of outrage: Emotions and party support in Hungary

This study demonstrates that political attacks cause anger that leads to political action for some participants while for others they elicit disgust that leads to political disaffection. The strength of identification with a political side predicts the anger reaction, while unaligned participants are likely to be disgusted with politics. A comparison of identical survey designs in the US and Hungary shows that similar psychological processes regulating emotional response in individuals aggregate to different country-level outcomes of polarization and disaffection as a function of the entrenchment of democratic norms and party system institutionalization.


Matheus De Nardo and Jeremy Brooks

Relationships between Status Perception and Pro-Environmental Behaviors

This study explores variation in perceptions of social status associated with pro-environmental behaviors, which has implications for the adoption and spread of such behaviors. Both environmentally-oriented and business-oriented respondents suggested that higher status behaviors are those that are observable and motivated by environmental concern. Therefore, these two characteristics contribute to the social signal associated with a behavior.  Environmental respondents rated costly, resource-efficient behaviors as higher status, while the business-oriented respondents rated consumption-reducing behaviors higher. Contextual information and individual differences can shape perceptions of pro-environmental behaviors and the degree to which these behaviors are socially accepted and adopted within groups.


Robert Gore, Trisha Van Zandt, and Roger Crawfis

Development of a Game-Like Analog of Medical Ethical Decision Making

To study costly moral hazard in healthcare, we have developed an analog task to examine both diagnostic decision making and willingness to set aside pecuniary self-interest, and we have been examining the effect of payment certainty on the willingness of undergraduates to engage in self-sacrificing versus self-interested behaviors. Pilot data from eight participants illustrates the potential of this paradigm, which includes the ability to study the tradeoff between speed and accuracy of decision making, as well as to study healthcare economics and social cognition.


Alexander Gotthard Real

Visibility, Group Size, and Prosocial Behavior

I hypothesize that the power of visibility to induce prosocial behavior depends on the size of the group that is being observed. I find evidence in favor of the hypothesis: individuals that behave selfishly under anonymity are 28% more likely to behave prosocially when their choices and identities are visible in small reference groups instead of large reference groups. Strikingly, individuals in large reference groups that were given the opportunity to adjust their choices after observing the behavior of others, were more likely to behave selfishly than under anonymity. However, this was not the case in small reference groups.


Jakob Miller

Public Reaction to Elite Deception

``Dishonest" is, fairly or unfairly, just as much a part of the image of the stereotypical politician as it is of the used car salesman. Yet, despite a huge amount of research on political deception, there has been no systematic investigation of how the public reacts to being deceived. Using an experiment, I examine subjects' decision-making processes when reacting to deception by a U.S. Senator. I find that most of the received wisdom is not borne out by the evidence, and that subjects' reactions seem relatively more complex than was previously assumed.


Jessica Moreland, Susan Melop, Carolina Gill, & Mark Moritz

Design Interventions to Encourage Pro-Environmental Behavior: An Action Research Study on Waste Diversion in a University Residence Hall

This study examined the effectiveness of four design interventions, encouraging students to recycle and compost in a university residence hall. In 2011, The Ohio State University successfully implemented a zero waste program in their football stadium and now plans to convert the entire campus to zero waste by 2030. The four interventions tested a new waste collection infrastructure, education, behavioral feedback, and social influence as influencers of students’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices. Effectiveness was measured and analyzed through changes in practices, changes in perceptions, and effectiveness of intervention materials. Findings have implications for design, social theory, and zero waste transitions.


Mary Kate Tompkins, Ellen Peters, & Dan Schley

Multiple numeric competencies and their relation to financial outcomes over time

In a longitudinal study (N=749), objective numeracy (ONS) and subjective (SNS) numeracy were used to predict financial outcomes. Results indicated that taking the statistics course protected students from detrimental changes in SNS. Also, lower SNS predicted detrimental changes in financial outcomes over the semester. No significant ONS results emerged.


Daniel Zane, Julie R. Irwin, & Rebecca W. Reczek

Do less ethical consumers denigrate more ethical consumers? The effect of willful ignorance on judgments of others

This research explores when and why consumers who willfully ignore ethical product attributes (Ehrich & Irwin, 2005) denigrate others who seek out and use this information in making purchase decisions. Denigrating these ethical others protects willfully ignorant consumers against the self-threat that arises from the negative social comparison between the ethical others’ actions and their own lack of such behavior during the decision-making process. However, this denigration also undermines consumers’ commitment to ethical values, reducing both the anger felt towards unethical manufacturer practices and the likelihood of performing future ethical behavior themselves.