The effect of attachment and environmental manipulations on cooperative behavior in the prisoner’s dilemma game

Maliheh Taheri, Pia Rotshtein, Ulrik Beierholm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Cooperation and competition are vital for human survival and for social progress. In this study we examine the impact of external (environmental) and internal (individual differences) factors on the tendency to cooperate or compete in social conflicts. To this end, 53 young adults played blocks of the repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma Game with each other or with a computer. The environmental context was manipulated across blocks, by introducing uncertainty, randomly losing or gaining money. Individual differences were assessed by participants’ attachment style. We found that participants cooperated more when randomly losing money compared to when randomly winning or in the neutral condition. Moreover, in a negative uncertain environment, individuals with higher anxious and avoidant attachment styles cooperated less. The above effects were only observed when playing against a human and not a computer. Overall, the findings highlight the dependency of cooperative behavior on the context as driven by external and internal factors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0205730
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Taheri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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