Department of Economics and Business Economics

The intuition of punishment: A study of fairness preferences and cognitive ability

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Can differences in cognitive reflection explain other-regarding behavior? To test this, I use the three-item Cognitive Reflection Task to classify individuals as intuitive or reflective and correlate this measure with choices in three games that each subject participates in. The main sample consists of 236 individuals who completed the dictator game, ultimatum game and a third-party punishment task. Subjects afterwards completed the three-item Cognitive Reflection Test. Results showed that intuitive individuals acted more prosocially in all social dilemma tasks. These individuals were more likely to serve as a norm enforcer and third-party punish a selfish act in the dictator game. Reflective individuals were found more likely to act consistently in a self-interested manner across the three games.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

    Research areas

  • Cognitive reflection ability, Dictator game, Intuition, Reflection, Social preferences, Third-party punishment, Ultimatum game

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