Attachment style predicts cooperation in intuitive but not deliberative response in one‐shot public goods game

Qianyun Gao, Xuying Jia, Hanyue Liu, Xiuxin Wang, Yongfang Liu
Published Online:
30 Apr 2019

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Cooperation is an important prosocial behaviour that is of great significance to individuals and society. The social heuristics hypothesis (SHH) systematically explains how cooperation is interactively affected by intuitive and deliberative processes. On the one hand, the intuitive process can be either cooperative or selfish, which is determined by previous experience. On the other hand, the deliberative process could support either a cooperative decision or a selfish decision, depending on which strategy could maximise the current payoff. This research aims to investigate the mechanism of cooperation. Attachment style was selected as a proxy for previous experience to examine whether and how previous life experience shapes intuitive response. Time constraint (Studies 1 and 2) and cognitive load (Study 3) were manipulated to dissociate the intuitive and deliberative processes. In addition, cooperation was assessed by adopting one‐shot public goods games. Results showed that attachment avoidance (Studies 1, 2, and 3) and attachment anxiety (Study 3) significantly predicted cooperation in the intuition condition, whereas these associations were insignificant in the deliberation condition (Studies 1, 2, and 3). These findings provide further support for the SHH and shed new light on the mechanism of cooperation.

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