Games 2011, 2(1), 114-135; doi:10.3390/g2010114
Article

Do I Really Want to Know? A Cognitive Dissonance-Based Explanation of Other-Regarding Behavior

Max-Planck-Institute of Economics, Kahlaische Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 23 December 2010; Accepted: 15 February 2011 / Published: 18 February 2011
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Abstract: We investigate to what extent genuine social preferences can explain observed other-regarding behavior. In a dictator game variant subjects can choose whether to learn about the consequences of their choice for the receiver. We find that a majority of subjects showing other-regarding behavior when the payoffs of the receiver are known, choose to ignore these consequences if possible. This behavior is inconsistent with preferences about outcomes. Other-regarding behavior may also be explained by avoiding cognitive dissonance as in Konow (2000). Our experiment’s choice data is in line with this approach. In addition, we successfully relate individual behavior to proxies for cognitive dissonance.
Keywords: social preferences; other-regarding behavior; experiments; cognitive dissonance

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MDPI and ACS Style

Matthey, A.; Regner, T. Do I Really Want to Know? A Cognitive Dissonance-Based Explanation of Other-Regarding Behavior. Games 2011, 2, 114-135.

AMA Style

Matthey A, Regner T. Do I Really Want to Know? A Cognitive Dissonance-Based Explanation of Other-Regarding Behavior. Games. 2011; 2(1):114-135.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Matthey, Astrid; Regner, Tobias. 2011. "Do I Really Want to Know? A Cognitive Dissonance-Based Explanation of Other-Regarding Behavior." Games 2, no. 1: 114-135.

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