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Article

Expect the Worst! Expectations and Social Interactive Decision Making

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Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, DipSCo, University of Trento, Corso Bettini, 84, 38068 Rovereto, Italy
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Centre for Medical Sciences, CISMed, University of Trento, Via S. Maria Maddalena, 1, 38122 Trento, Italy
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Department of Economics and Management, University of Trento, Via Vigilio Inama, 5, 38122 Trento, Italy
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Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, CNR, Via alla Cascata 56 C, 38123 Povo, Italy
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Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 AJ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Behavioural Science Institute, Radboud University Nijmegen, 6525 AJ Nijmegen, The Netherlands
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gyorgy Lur and Anthony Atkinson
Brain Sci. 2021, 11(5), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050572
Received: 20 January 2021 / Revised: 19 April 2021 / Accepted: 20 April 2021 / Published: 29 April 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Emotions Guide Decision-Making: Behavioral and Brain Mechanisms)
Psychological studies have demonstrated that expectations can have substantial effects on choice behavior, although the role of expectations on social decision making in particular has been relatively unexplored. To broaden our knowledge, we examined the role of expectations on decision making when interacting with new game partners and then also in a subsequent interaction with the same partners. To perform this, 38 participants played an Ultimatum Game (UG) in the role of responders and were primed to expect to play with two different groups of proposers, either those that were relatively fair (a tendency to propose an equal split—the high expectation condition) or unfair (with a history of offering unequal splits—the low expectation condition). After playing these 40 UG rounds, they then played 40 Dictator Games (DG) as allocator with the same set of partners. The results showed that expectations affect UG decisions, with a greater proportion of unfair offers rejected from the high as compared to the low expectation group, suggesting that players utilize specific expectations of social interaction as a behavioral reference point. Importantly, this was evident within subjects. Interestingly, we also demonstrated that these expectation effects carried over to the subsequent DG. Participants allocated more money to the recipients of the high expectation group as well to those who made equal offers and, in particular, when the latter were expected to behave unfairly, suggesting that people tend to forgive negative violations and appreciate and reward positive violations. Therefore, both the expectations of others’ behavior and their violations play an important role in subsequent allocation decisions. Together, these two studies extend our knowledge of the role of expectations in social decision making. View Full-Text
Keywords: expectations; social decision-making; Ultimatum Game; Dictator Game expectations; social decision-making; Ultimatum Game; Dictator Game
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MDPI and ACS Style

Giorgetta, C.; Grecucci, A.; Graffeo, M.; Bonini, N.; Ferrario, R.; Sanfey, A.G. Expect the Worst! Expectations and Social Interactive Decision Making. Brain Sci. 2021, 11, 572. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050572

AMA Style

Giorgetta C, Grecucci A, Graffeo M, Bonini N, Ferrario R, Sanfey AG. Expect the Worst! Expectations and Social Interactive Decision Making. Brain Sciences. 2021; 11(5):572. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050572

Chicago/Turabian Style

Giorgetta, Cinzia, Alessandro Grecucci, Michele Graffeo, Nicolao Bonini, Roberta Ferrario, and Alan G. Sanfey. 2021. "Expect the Worst! Expectations and Social Interactive Decision Making" Brain Sciences 11, no. 5: 572. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci11050572

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