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The watching eyes effect has gained significant attention in recent years both from scientists and from policy makers and professionals in the field. The phenomenon posits that the mere presence of eye cues can promote prosocial behavior. However, there is a growing debate about the generality of the effect across various measures and contexts. This review seeks to combine various distinct -and formerly isolated- perspectives by identifying four key components for effective interventions based on the watching eyes effect: Anonymity, crowdedness, costs, and exposure. Eye cues need to reduce perceived anonymity, be placed in non-crowded places, target low-cost prosocial acts and appear for a short amount of time. Next to these conditions, we discuss implications for other cues to reputation and recommend directions that will stimulate further research and applications in society.
As a complement to high-cost cooperation as assessed in economic games, the concept of social mindfulness focuses on low-cost acts of kindness. While social mindfulness seems quite natural, performed by many most of the time (reaching a level of 60–70 percent), what happens if such acts become more costly, and if costs become more salient? The present research replicates the prevalence of social mindfulness when costs are salient, but low. Yet we show that, with small increments in costs, the vast majority no longer exhibits social mindfulness. This holds even if we keep the outcomes for self high in comparison with the beneficiary. We conclude that the literature on social mindfulness should pay attention to cost. Clearly, if being socially mindful comes with high costs, this is not what most people are prepared to do. In contrast as long as costs are low and not salient, social mindfulness seems natural and normative.
Humans are a remarkably social species. They form and live in groups and recurrently have to decide whether to cooperate or compete with others within and among groups. Cooperation has been essential for group survival and prosperity across human history. In hunter-gatherer societies, people need to form alliances in hunting to alleviate the risks from predator attacks. Likewise, modern societies require groups of people to cooperate in large ventures. Yet, social situations often involve a conflict between one’s short-term personal interest and the long-term collective interest (i.e., social dilemmas; Dawes, 1980; Van Lange et al., 2013). In such mixed-motive situations, what is good for an individual may often harm the collective, and this makes people tempted to free ride and harvest the benefits from others’ cooperation. Indeed, many societal problems and global issues (e.g., traffic problems, environmental pollution, and resource depletion) involve such conflicts of interests. Solving these problems often requires individuals to cooperate by paying a personal cost to benefit another person or the group.
Violators of cooperation norms may be informally punished by their peers. How such norm enforcement is judged by others can be regarded as a meta-norm (i.e., a second-order norm). We examined whether meta-norms about peer punishment vary across cultures by having students in eight countries judge animations in which an agent who over-harvested a common resource was punished either by a single peer or by the entire peer group. Whether the punishment was retributive or restorative varied between two studies, and findings were largely consistent across these two types of punishment. Across all countries, punishment was judged as more appropriate when implemented by the entire peer group than by an individual. Differences between countries were revealed in judgments of punishers vs. non-punishers. Specifically, appraisals of punishers were relatively negative in three Western countries and Japan, and more neutral in Pakistan, UAE, Russia, and China, consistent with the influence of individualism, power distance, and/or indulgence. Our studies constitute a first step in mapping how meta-norms vary around the globe, demonstrating both cultural universals and cultural differences.
A total of 80 authors working in a variety of scientific disciplines commented on the theoretical model of CLimate, Aggression, and Self-control in Humans (CLASH). The commentaries cover a wide range of issues, including the logic and assumptions of CLASH, the evidence in support of CLASH, and other possible causes of aggression and violence (e.g., wealth, income inequality, political circumstances, historic circumstances, pathogen stress). Some commentaries also provide data relevant to CLASH. Here we clarify the logic and assumptions of CLASH and discusses its extensions and boundary conditions. We also offer suggestions for future research. Regardless of whether none, some, or all of CLASH is found to be true, we hope it will stimulate future research on the link between climate and human behavior. Climate is one of the most presing issues of our time.
To understand a group's (dys)functionality, we propose focusing on its members' concerns for their reputation. The examples of prosocial behavior and information exchange in decision-making groups illustrate that empirical evidence directly or indirectly suggests that reputational concerns play a central role in groups. We argue that our conceptualization fulfills criteria for a good theory: enhancing understanding, abstraction, testability, and applicability.
Dishonesty is ubiquitous in our world. The news is frequently filled with high-profile cases of corporate fraud, large-scale corruption, lying politicians, and the hypocrisy of public figures. On a smaller scale, ordinary people often cheat, lie, misreport their taxes, and mislead others in their daily life. Despite such prevalence of cheating, corruption, and concealment, people typically consider themselves to be honest, and often believe themselves to be more moral than most others. This book aims to resolve this paradox by addressing the question of why people are dishonest all too often. What motivates dishonesty, and how are people able to perceive themselves as moral despite their dishonest behaviour? What personality and interpersonal factors make dishonesty more likely? And what can be done to recognise and reduce dishonesty? This is a fascinating overview of state-of-the-art research on dishonesty, with prominent scholars offering their views to clarify the roots of dishonesty.