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Games 2017, 8(2), 21;

A Study of the Triggers of Conflict and Emotional Reactions

1, Inc., 440 Terry Ave. N, Seattle, CA 98109, USA
Department of Economics, University of California, 3151 Social Science Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Department of Management, University of Texas, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249, USA
Economic Science Institute, Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866, USA
Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, 11119 Bellflower Road, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Eric Schniter and Ulrich Berger
Received: 21 January 2017 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 30 March 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
PDF [395 KB, uploaded 20 April 2017]


We study three triggers of conflict and explore their resultant emotional reactions in a laboratory experiment. Economists suggest that the primary trigger of conflict is monetary incentives. Social psychologists suggest that conflicts are often triggered by fear. Finally, evolutionary biologists suggest that a third trigger is uncertainty about an opponent’s desire to cause harm. Consistent with the predictions from economics, social psychology, and evolutionary biology, we find that conflict originates from all three triggers. The three triggers differently impact the frequency of conflict, but not the intensity. Also, we find that the frequency and intensity of conflict decrease positive emotions and increase negative emotions and that conflict impacts negative emotions more than positive emotions. View Full-Text
Keywords: conflict; incentives; fear; uncertainty; laboratory experiment; reverse dictator game; joy of destruction game conflict; incentives; fear; uncertainty; laboratory experiment; reverse dictator game; joy of destruction game

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Caldara, M.; McBride, M.T.; McCarter, M.W.; Sheremeta, R.M. A Study of the Triggers of Conflict and Emotional Reactions. Games 2017, 8, 21.

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