Social value orientation and information search in social dilemmas: An eye-tracking analysis

Susann Fiedler, Andreas Glöckner, Andreas Nicklisch, Stephan Dickert

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Previous work has demonstrated that Social Value Orientation (SVO) is related to cooperative behavior in social dilemmas. However, little is known concerning the underlying processes. In two eye-tracking studies investigating decisions in money allocation tasks (Experiment 1) and Public Good Dilemmas (Experiment 2), we show that differences in SVO are accompanied by consistent differences in information search. Decision time, number of fixations, the proportion of inspected information, the degree of attention towards the others’ payoffs, and the number of transitions from and towards others’ payoffs gradually increase with absolute SVO deviation from a pure selfish orientation. Overall these effects seem to be similar for individuals caring positively (i.e., cooperative) or negatively (i.e., competitive) about others. The fact that changes are gradual instead of abrupt indicates that differences in SVO seem to be related to gradual changes in weights given to outcomes for self and others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272 - 284
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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