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Much or More? Experiments of Rationality and Spite with School Children

Teixeira, Ricardo Emanuel Cunha; D'Almeida, Andre F.; Chalub, Fabio A. C. C.
Fonte: NAJP Publicador: NAJP
Tipo: Artigo de Revista Científica
Publicado em /03/2014 ENG
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Copyright © 2014 North American Journal of Pyschology.; In a competitive environment the maximization of self-interest and the minimization of the other's interest can be seen as the two faces of the same coin. However, these motivations can lead to very different behaviors. In order to understand how these are expressed, we designed an experiment to measure the ability of children and teenagers to react to stimuli that induce behavior to act as a rational player (maximization of self interest) or as a spiteful player (minimization of other's interest). Each player faced the following dilemma: maximizing pay-off and incurring the risk of having a lower pay-off; or alternatively guaranteeing one’s own pay-off was not smaller than the opponent’s pay-off. A prize was attributed proportionally to the pay-off (Treatment 1) or to the player with highest pay-off (Treatment 2), which meant that the optimal behavior was different for each treatment. We performed experiments with 398 Portuguese children and teenagers and found evidence that younger children tended to be maximizers (in both variants) and that teenagers tended towards rational behavior when it was best for them and towards spiteful behavior when the latter was more advantageous.