Does the mere presence of an opportunity for discussion increase cooperation even when non-participants exist?: an experiment utilizing the "cleaning duty game"

[Speaker] Kitakaji, Yoko:1
[Co-author] Ohnuma, Susumu:1
1:Hokkaido University (Japan)

In general, discussion increases cooperation in social dilemmas. However, when participants can choose whether to join in discussion, discussion may result in either cooperation or non-cooperation: either 1) a "bad apple effect" might occur whereby cooperators become non-cooperative due to the existence of a free rider, or 2) social norms may be invoked which increase cooperation.
To explore which pattern is observed, we developed a "cleaning duty game", a chicken game type commons. Four players in this game share "waste station". If one player cleans the station (incurring cost), all players gain profit but if no one cleans the station, all players lose their profit.
We created three conditions: all discussion, applicants' discussion, and a control (no discussion) condition. 22 game were conducted with 88 participants.
The results revealed a significant difference between control condition and both other conditions, indicating that the presence of discussion opportunity increased cooperation.
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