The Role of Perceived Similarity in Social Dilemmas

Anania, Emily
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University of Delaware
Fischer’s (2009) Subjective Expected Relative Similarity (SERS) hypothesis states that the probability of cooperation in the Prisoner’s Dilemma Game is a function of two variables – similarity of the partner to one’s self (PARSIM) (defined as the probability that the partner will make the same choice as the self) and the similarity threshold of the game itself. According to SERS, cooperation is more likely as PARSIM increases, and as similarity threshold decreases. Additionally, SERS predicts an interaction between PARSIM and the similarity threshold of the game. In study one of this thesis, a set of 125 facial photos were rated by three groups – one for trustworthiness, and the others for two different types of similarity. All ratings showed high internal consistency. The two types of similarity ratings were highly correlated, and trustworthiness ratings were moderately correlated with both types of similarity ratings. In study two, a new group of participants indicated how likely they would be to cooperate in a series of 54 trials, across which the rated similarity of the pictured partner, and similarity threshold of the PDG varied systematically and independently. Study two found main effects for the sex of the partner, the similarity threshold of the PDG game, and the perceived similarity of partner, controlling for partner’s trustworthiness. However, there was no evidence of an interaction between PARSIM and similarity threshold.
Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Psychology