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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Richard Crisp

Meleady, Rose, Hopthrow, Tim & Crisp, Richard J. (2013). Simulating Social Dilemmas: Promoting Cooperative Behavior Through Imagined Group Discussion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 104(5): 839-853.

Author(s) from Durham


Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported in Vol 104(5) of Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (see record 2013-13780-004). In the article there was an error in Table 6. The standard deviations listed under the Cooperative commitments heading are incorrect. The correct SD values are: 1.90 (6 person), 1.66 (12 person), and 0.86 (24 person).

A robust finding in social dilemmas research is that individual group members are more likely to act cooperatively if they are given the chance to discuss the dilemma with one another. The authors investigated whether imagining a group discussion may represent an effective means of increasing cooperative behavior in the absence of the opportunity for direct negotiation among decision makers. Five experiments, utilizing a range of task variants, tested this hypothesis. Participants engaged in a guided simulation of the progressive steps required to reach a cooperative consensus within a group discussion of a social dilemma. Results support the conclusion that imagined group discussion enables conscious processes that parallel those underlying the direct group discussion and is a strategy that can effectively elicit cooperative behavior. The applied potential of imagined group discussion techniques to encourage more socially responsible behavior is discussed.