Japanese Journal of Social Psychology
Online ISSN : 2189-1338
Print ISSN : 0916-1503
ISSN-L : 0916-1503
The effects of imagining the other person on cooperation in a Prisoner’s Dilemma game
Yoko KitakajiMiyuki SoneKosuke SatoTsubasa KobayashiSusumu Ohnuma
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2016 Volume 32 Issue 2 Pages 115-122


This study investigated the effects of imagining others on cooperation in a one-shot Prisoner’s Dilemma (PD) game. There are two ways to imagine others’ perspectives: “imagining the other” or considering how the other person feels, and “imagining the self” or projecting oneself onto the other person. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions: a) the imagining-other condition, b) the imagining-self condition, and c) the control condition (thinking about a landscape). Participants played a one-shot PD game and completed the social value orientation (SVO) scale, which measures one’s cooperative tendency. Results showed that the cooperation rate was higher in the imagining-other condition, and participants in the imagining-other condition expected that the partner would cooperate and that the partner thinks they would cooperate. In contrast, in the imagining-self condition, no significant differences were observed about these variables. Furthermore, the cooperation rate increased mediated by two-way expectations in the imagining-others condition, while it was not observed in imagining-self conditions. These results show the importance of imagining others not as a reflection of self, in increasing expectation of mutual cooperation and promoting cooperation.

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© 2016 The Japanese Society of Social Psychology
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