We had participants play two sets of repeated Prisoner’s Dilemma (RPD) games, one with a large continuation probability and the other with a small continuation probability, as well as Dictator Games (DGs) before and after the RPDs. We find that, regardless of which is RPD set is played first, participants typically cooperate when the continuation probability is large and defect when the continuation probability is small. However, there is an asymmetry in behavior when transitioning from one continuation probability to the other. When switching from large to small, transient higher levels of cooperation are observed in the early games of the small continuation set. Conversely, when switching from small to large, cooperation is immediately high in the first game of the large continuation set. We also observe that response times increase when transitioning between sets of RPDs, except for altruistic participants transitioning into the set of RPDs with long continuation probabilities. These asymmetries suggest a bias in favor of cooperation. Finally, we examine the link between altruism and RPD play. We find that small continuation probability RPD play is correlated with giving in DGs played before and after the RPDs, whereas high continuation probability RPD play is not.
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