Effects of Manipulating Individual Identity


This look at examined how altering the notion of social distance modified the best way during which by which subjects interacted inside the Perception Recreation significantly attempting into the social preferences they displayed. A dialogue of every monetary and sociological evaluation demonstrates the inherent variability of social id and social distance and the interconnected nature these concepts have with social preferences. A two-stage experiment involving subjects of assorted nationalities and genders was carried out with a definite id focus in each stage. Findings current that subjects exhibit bigger social preferences when interacting with these of the identical focused id however the ranges of these preferences displayed differ in accordance to the id focus. Outcomes counsel that social distance, although merely manipulated, is a strong energy in interactions. The outcomes are in step with earlier analysis into group membership, id, nationality, gender and social preferences. Given this look at’s far-reaching implications it must be seen as a result of the premise for future look at of this matter.


The thought of ‘social distance’ as elucidated by Akerlof (1997) is profoundly linked with social id and social preferences. It is the variations in folks’ social identities, along with as an example, race, gender, class and standing, that determine some great benefits of interaction and to what extent of social preferences are displayed. However when folks mustn’t solely conscious of each other, the notion of social identities depends on only some observations and is subsequently not solely right. The intention of this dissertation is to take a look at whether or not or not or not variations inside the notion of social id, and thus social distance, will affect the extent to which social preferences are manifested.

Analysis on the impression of id are by no means new. Akerlof and Kranton (2000) studied its relevance and magnitude close to gender discrimination inside the workplace, poverty and social exclusion, and the household division of labour. Akerlof (1997) moreover studied the impression of social distance, asserting that the social id of individuals can significantly affect their interactions. What has not been examined, nonetheless, is to what extent id is merely a notion. Folks can and do possess quite a few identities numerous in dominance from state of affairs to state of affairs. The hypothesis of this paper is that social preferences are associated in experimental video video games, nevertheless these are relying on how each participant perceives the alternative’s social id, a notion that is inherently variable. Avid gamers react with numerous ranges of self-interest consistent with the id they perceive, even when an equivalent character profiles are involved. Newest monetary analysis fail to sufficiently incorporate current sociological pondering as to the character of social id and although this look at will give proof for the relevance of social distance in determining ranges of social preferences, it will attempt to clarify folks’ inconsistent notion of the area between them.

With a function so as to add weight to this place, an experiment was organised by which members of assorted profiles had been invited to play the Perception Recreation. Each recreation was carried out face-to-face with no verbal communication. The experiment was divided into two phases, a nationality focused stage and a gender focused stage. Each participant carried out the game twice and on no account with the equivalent opposing participant. Sooner than each recreation, members had been assigned to certain rooms by which video clips had been carried out counting on the id focused on. Throughout the first stage, members had been break up into three rooms, one for each nationality present: Scottish, English and Chinese language language. After one play of the Perception Recreation, the experiment commenced its second stage and members had been break up into two rooms, one for each gender, and as soon as extra requested to play the game.

The outcomes current that there is important variation inside the ranges of social preferences displayed counting on the id being focused on hereafter often known as the ‘focused id’. When nationality was the focused id, these with this frequent id exhibited bigger social preferences than these of differing nationalities, irrespective of gender. When gender was the focused id, these with this frequent id exhibited bigger social preferences than these of differing gender, regardless, to some extent, of nationality. This lack of consistency displays that the notion of social distance is simply not a unbroken by way of every phases and but it surely’s nonetheless proves to be a determining take into consideration how players work collectively.

The subsequent content material materials of this paper is organized into four sections. Half 2 will deal with the associated literature close to social preferences and id, exhibiting their relevance, interconnected nature and inherent variability, discussing the equipment of assorted theories inside the context of this look at. Half three will describe the design and implementation of the experiment used on this look at with the outcomes, analysis and comparisons to comparable analysis supplied in Half 4. An interpretation of these outcomes and extra conclusions will probably be offered in Half 5.

Theories of Preferences and Identification

To clearly understand the argument supplied, a holistic dialogue of current theories ought to be embarked upon. The relevance of social preferences and the forms of their analysis by way of experimental video video games will probably be examined on this half to create the context by which this look at is positioned. The concepts of id and the best way they kind perceptions and interactions will then be considered sooner than discussing their relationship with social preferences.

Social Preferences

The concept that man is motivated by self-interest is one which has dominated monetary precept and is actually fundamental to the very ideology of the overwhelming majority of economists. As Adam Smith (1910:13) suggests, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we rely on our dinner, nevertheless from their regard to their very personal curiosity.” Inherent on this analogy is the implication that self-interest is the primary motivator in our monetary interactions, and it is by way of this impulse that equilibria are usual. In Recreation Precept, the Nash Equilibrium is obtained by each participant assuming the alternative possesses purely selfish motives. This assumption, nonetheless, is simply not always in step with actuality. Many elements have an effect on an individual’s selections and it is evident that the maximisation of material obtain is simply not always a dominating motivation. Just a few of the elements influencing an individual’s selections can relate to social standing, group membership, inequity aversion, reciprocity, spite, envy, altruism and id. These elements type a selection set, referred to on this look at as ‘social preferences’.

Although the hypothesis of self-interest has been ingrained in standard economics, modern economists have an increasing number of questioned this supposition. In actuality the conventional authors of this precept had been moreover cautious of its realism. Though Edgeworth (1881:16) writes that “the first principle of Economics is that every agent is actuated solely by self-interest”, he concedes that Man is, in reality, “for basically probably the most half an impure egoist, a blended utilitarian,” (Edgeworth 1881:104). It is evident that we’re influenced by unselfish motives in our interactions with others and it follows that these interactions will in numerous circumstances include supplies income and loss. That’s the realm of social preferences. Amartya Sen (1977:336), in his seminal paper on the irrationality of standard selection precept states that “the purely monetary man is actually close to being a social moron.” He argues that theories that do not embody the have an effect on of sympathy and our dedication to it are incomplete. It is the outcomes of this major emotion that our social norms, authorized pointers and codes of conduct are usual and with out which no society could be attainable (Johansen 1977).

In quite a few analysis into social preferences, it is seen that they are comprised of quite a few parts. Reciprocity, inequity aversion, altruism and perception are all major parts of this selection set (Andreoni et al. 2002). When kindness or animosity is confirmed, the impulse exists to reciprocate in like methodology. When inequity exists, the urge exists to rebel in opposition to it. Altruism is the benefit that depends on no kind of anticipated obtain or reciprocity, the purest kind of excellent will. Perception is the boldness eventually actions of 1 different and is arguably basically probably the most variable of the social preferences and one which is able to probably be revisited on this look at.

Each of these attributes are faraway from abstract philosophical concepts, exert good have an effect on on our monetary interactions. Agell and Lundberg (1995) discovered that on account of staff being influenced by fairness and equity customs, wage cuts had been sometimes unprofitable, with staff objecting to an ‘unfair’ movement. This might have a direct affect on the extent that a corporation vertically integrates, with out-sourcing sometimes being far more viable given the reciprocal angle of staff. Bewley (1999) moreover well-known company’s protection can affect worker morale and as such corporations ought to keep in mind the perceived fairness of their insurance coverage insurance policies. The extent of tax evasion has moreover been correlated to how sincere it is perceived, and in actuality the entire building of tax packages are utterly debated and altered consistent with the principles of equity and profit (Seidl and Traub 2002). The notion of unreciprocated generosity has been certainly one of many causes of the ultimate low cost in help from the US welfare state. Individuals are disinclined to help welfare buildings that give the impression that they are serving to a poor part of society that refuse to help themselves, content material materials to dwell off the goodwill of others (Bowles and Gintis 2000). Fukuyama (1995) moreover correlates monetary prosperity with bigger ranges of perception, suggesting that social preferences are a very extremely efficient energy even inside the current world monetary system.

Sequential video video games

Although the examples given are wide-ranging in scope, involving comparatively large monetary factors, social preferences have moreover been confirmed to have a huge impact on specific particular person interactions. Beforehand experimental video video games have been used to indicate the dominating forces of self-interest, the equilibria of these experiments being calculated by assuming that every one brokers had been utterly self-interested (Fehr and Schmict, 2001). Simply these days, economists have carried out quite a few experiments involving non-cooperative video video games that contradict this presumption. Guth, Schmittberger and Schwarze (1982) had been among the many many first to create a recreation that did merely this. It is known as the Ultimatum Recreation.

There are two players inside the recreation, one a Proposer and one a Responder. The Proposer ought to divide an amount of money X between the two players, offering the Responder any amount Y = X. If Responder accepts, the Proposer receives the remaining money X – Y, within the occasion that they reject, every acquire nothing. Beneath self-interested preferences, the surroundings pleasant equilibrium is the one by which the Proposer offers the least amount potential to the Responder, who will accept any amount. Genuinely nonetheless, offers of decrease than a fifth of X are rejected about half time and Proposers anticipating this often present spherical 30 to 50 % of X (Hoffman et al. 1996). This finish consequence clearly displays that elements other than self-interest are at play. It might be inexpensive to think about that altruism and reciprocity every play a part inside the decision-making means of every players. The Proposer may be influenced by a code of morals and an concept of fairness to produce larger than the same old equilibrium distribution. The Proposer ought to moreover keep in mind the Responder’s sense of reciprocity and animosity in route of a seemingly unfair distribution. Although the Responder is under no monetary incentive to reject a low present, however his social preferences suggest that he is ready to acquire some utility by spiting the Proposer, thereby valuing a certain amount of reciprocity over monetary value.

Given the reality that the Proposer’s actions may be pushed solely by the concern of reciprocity and no sense of altruism, it is worthwhile to look into the Dictator’s Recreation first launched by Kahneman et al. (1986) and refined by Forsythe et al. (1994). On this recreation, the Responder, now known as the Recipient, is simply not given the selection to easily settle for or refuse the amount given by the Proposer. If the Proposer is motivated by self-interested alone, they will present nothing to the Recipient nevertheless as many experiments have confirmed, this is not always the case. Henrich et al. (2001) uncover that in most dictator recreation experiments there is a main mode present of zero % of the Proposer’s full wealth and a secondary mode present of 50 %. Some groups current a significant mode present of 20 % and a secondary mode of 50 % providing strong proof of inequity aversion. Together with supporting the notion that man is simply not utterly self-interested, analysis moreover confirm that fear of reciprocity is present inside the Ultimatum Recreation and that Proposers apply backwards induction with frequent offers being lower inside the Dictator Recreation (Roth et al. 1991).

The Perception Recreation, developed by Berg et al. (1995) is a recreation that may be utilized to examine the presence of altruism, inequity aversion, reciprocity and its namesake, perception. The game is carried out with an Investor and a Trustee, with the earlier being given an preliminary endowment of X and the latter given nothing. The Investor is then ready to provide any amount Y between zero and X. The amount the Trustee receives will probably be tripled, amounting to 3Y. The Trustee is then given the selection to supply any amount Z between zero and 3Y once more to the Investor thereby making the payoffs of the Investor and the Trustee X – Y + Z and 3Y – Z respectively. The Trustee is under no monetary incentive to return any amount and as such, under strictly self-interested preferences the Investor will predict this and offers the Trustee nothing nevertheless, as with the Ultimatum and Dictator Video video games, analysis current that many players of the Perception Recreation deviate from this equilibrium. Berg et al. (1995) uncover that almost all Patrons give some amount of money to the Trustee and substantial number of Trustees return a minimal of the equivalent amount and third even returned larger than they acquired. The amount returned moreover will enhance with the amount given thus supporting the hypothesis that reciprocity is an integral part of many selection models. Patrons and Trustees are ready to indicate inequity aversion by deciding on to supply or return portions that will equalise closing payoffs. Trustees can also present altruism by returning one thing over and above the amount needed to equalise payoffs. It is attention-grabbing to note that there is substantial variation inside the portions given, with no clear frequent amount entrusted. The variation is simply not unsurprising, nonetheless, given the inherent inconsistency in ranges of perception that folks show of their interactions with quite a few folks. In society, perception positioned in an individual depends upon who that individual particular person is or, in several phrases, perception positioned depends upon the perceived id of the particular person in question.


Identification, at its most elementary stage, is on the bottom of all human interaction. For an individual to work along with one different, the particular person might want to have a clear concept of every himself and of the alternative. It is inside the consideration of these two concepts that selections are made. Descartes (1912:167) famously acknowledged “…I really feel, subsequently I am,” and in doing so sparked off the philosophical debate on what really directs our concepts and actions. Hume (1888) further develops this by exploring our notion of ourselves, our id. It was his notion that we are going to solely perceive ourselves, and assemble our id, by categorisation inside the light of chosen traits and on no account perceive our true actuality in purpose phrases. It is out-with the bounds of this look at to debate in depth the sociological and psychological complexities of this matter, but it surely’s worth-while bringing to light some key concepts to further the understanding of the interactions between this look at’s members.

An id is a instrument of recognition. It “permits us to recognise folks, lessons, groups and varieties of individuals,” Wiley (1994:130). Better than this, it’s often a instrument of categorisation and emotional cues. It implies a “conscious consciousness by members of a gaggle, some optimistic or damaging emotional feelings in route of the traits which members of a gaggle perceive themselves as sharing and by which they perceive themselves as differing from others,” Mennell (1994:177). Goffman (1968) further expounds these parts of recognition by dividing id into three sections: the ‘personal id’, the ‘ego id’ and the ‘social id.’ The personal id is the distinctive identification that each specific particular person possesses to differentiate themselves technically, legally and realistically from all others. The ego id is a purely subjective assertion that is constructed from numerous social experiences and is a means of 1’s private specific state and nature. The social id affords a technique of categorising people and connects each specific particular person with a set of attributes and traits thought of consistent with the members of their respective lessons. Those who possess commonalities inside the kind of thought, movement, nature, experience or lifestyle can all be grouped into quite a few social identities. Examples of social identities are nationality, gender, music-taste, age, occupation and political opinions. You will have to emphasize that whereas folks may solely keep one personal and ego id, they will juggle quite a few social identities which have numerous ranges of focus from state of affairs to state of affairs.

Akerlof and Kranton (2000) put forward the speculation that our notion of our ego id can have a giant have an effect on on our selections and actions. Their theorem sheds light on plenty of seemingly irrational choices. Actions which could be of apparent detriment to an individual could be seen as a kind of behaviour that it used to create a further distinctive self id. Equally, steps may be taken to symbolise the assumption of a specific id or the membership of a certain group, be they conscious or in every other case. Males do not often placed on garments, and as such this behavioural code is unconsciously subscribed to by practically all of males. Any behaviour quite the opposite poses an issue not merely to the social norm, nevertheless to the id of manhood itself. Makes an try to control an individual’s selections could be based mostly totally on the notion of id. With a function to have an effect on people to buy their merchandise, corporations create adverts that often current a stylised kind of a specific id that people may aspire to. Lastly, as id can play such a giant operate in determining our monetary selections and conduct, and assuming that folks can choose their very personal id, Akerlof and Kranton (2000) conclude that id choices is often a principal take into consideration a person’s normal monetary well-being, a conclusion strengthened by the hypothesis of role-identities.

It is powerful to seek out out to what extent our id is prescriptive or descriptive in relation to our private actions, nevertheless nevertheless the dual concepts of ‘id’ and ‘operate’ are deeply interconnected. Lyman and Scott (1970:136) clarify this hyperlink by stating that “roles are identities mobilised in a specific state of affairs; whereas operate is always situationally specific, identities are trans-situational.” By assuming an id, we moreover assume a job. No matter that the reality that this operate varies from state of affairs to state of affairs, it is at all times in step with the assumed id. It is from this notion that expectations and metaperspectives are usual. Laing et al. (1966) pioneered the concept it is not ‘I’ nevertheless ‘you’ that is crucial. Further significantly they claimed that we’re all deeply influenced by considering our view of others’ view of ourselves and in such a technique develop a ‘role-performance’ that conforms to the expectation others have of our behaviour so as to acquire optimistic options or stay away from damaging options. With a function to evaluate these expectations and act accordingly, we must always first select what these expectations are. With strangers, that’s problematic, and as such we “orient ourselves in the direction of them in phrases solely of the ill-specified contours of their social roles,” (McCall and Simmons, 1978:70). On this respect, we’re solely ready to type powerful estimations of a person’s true id and thereby depend upon our notion of how they match into obscure boundaries of social identities. After we perceive people this style, our notion of the attributes they possess as ascribed by their social id is usually totally arbitrary when seen inside the context of an purpose character analysis. The notion and actuality can at situations be poles apart, decreasing in accuracy with rising ‘social distance’.

Identities and Social Preferences

Akerlof (1997) outlined social distance as a measure of social proximity between folks. The model he created summarises that people obtain benefits from interacting to those socially nearer to themselves, with these benefits decreasing with isolation. This model is supported by empirical proof that suggests that perception and reciprocity are linked with social connection and that members of the equivalent nationality and race exhibit bigger ranges of these attributes in route of one another (Glaeser et al. 1999). A typical methodology of analysing social distance is through the event of groups in experiments and many analysis of this kind have equipped pretty important outcomes.

Discovering out the outcomes of group membership on cooperation, Orbell et al. (1988) uncover that subjects are far more extra prone to cooperate with in-group members than out-group members, with 79% of members exhibiting cooperation with the earlier and solely 30% exhibiting cooperation with the latter. Via using a variation on the dictator recreation, Frey and Bohnet (1997) moreover confirmed how group membership impacts social preferences. The experiment observed that in-group members had been allotted far more of the general endowment than out-group members suggesting some correlation with membership and altruism and inequity aversion. An crucial discovering of the literature as regards to group membership is that subjects react to membership in a very subjective methodology, disregarding purpose points. Billing and Tajfel (1973) observe that the even most minimal connections inside a gaggle nonetheless give rise to in-group optimistic discrimination. Although subjects realised that the premise of group composition was solely random, they nonetheless discriminated in the direction of their fellow members in a very important methodology. The reality that the weakest bonds are ready to create optimistic in-group interaction is an important consideration when analyzing the relation between perceptions of social id and expressions of social preferences.

Whereas group membership is a strong energy, transnational analysis have confirmed that the cooperation inducing group mentality is simply not a universally fixed attribute. Buchan, Croson and Johnson (1999) uncover that subjects from the U.S. are further trusting when paired with in-group members nevertheless that this is not the case for subjects from China and Japan, who’re further trusting mainly, irrespective of whom that they had been paired with. Buchan and Croson (1999) moreover uncover variations all through genders observing that although members perception men and women equally, women are seen to reciprocate larger than males in Perception Video video games and are further generous in Dictator Video video games, findings which could be fixed internationally. One different consistency that was found all through nationalities on this look at was the impression that communication between players had on perception and reciprocation ranges, a conclusion moreover mirrored in several experiments. Roth (1995) found that even straightforward, seemingly irrelevant conversations significantly elevated the levels of these social preferences.

Irrespective of variations all through nationality, gender and communication ranges, it is apparent that there is a clear connection between id and social preferences. As we categorise folks into social lessons, we not solely presume they possess certain qualities and attributes nevertheless we moreover predict how they react. Within the equivalent methodology we use metaperspectives to kind our private actions based mostly totally on obscure notions of the social identities of others, we moreover use these imperfect images to type inherently imperfect expectations of future interactions. The notion and actuality can at situations be irreconcilable and however any preliminary interaction makes use of this as its basis. McCall and Simmons (1978) put forward the idea any interaction that takes place is solely based mostly totally on images which could be constructed inside the minds of those interacting. Bearing in mind the inaccuracy of these constructs when strangers work collectively, we are going to see how this interprets into the layman’s time interval of ‘prejudice’, an concept intently linked with perception.

The thought of perception, as talked about earlier depends on confidence and on the coronary coronary heart of confidence is a deep reliance on predictions and expectations which can be in flip based mostly totally on the powerful identities that we perceive others to personal. This ends in good variance in perception ranges which, although confirmed in analysis referred to above, is shortly seen in regularly life. Perception could be unquestioned with interactions with relations and buddies nevertheless displayed with lesser and lesser extents to strangers and those who we perceive as untrustworthy. Merely as signalling is used inside the employment markets, so it is in our trust-dependant interactions. One may ask a well-dressed, properly mannered and nice stranger to take a look at over some personal belongings in a library nevertheless may be loath to depart one thing unattended when inside the presence of hooded youth. The hood could be seen as an indication that the wearer is dangerous and cannot be trusted. It is perceived as a result of the expression of an id, the notion of which can have an effect on our attitudes and conduct.

The analysis above moreover current that id can drastically affect reciprocity, inequity aversion and altruism. Experiments primarily based spherical group membership, nonetheless minimal, current the great have an effect on groups have on these social preferences. One rationalization of that’s the concept of metaperspectives, in that persons are further generous in experimental video video games on account of they contemplate that their counterpart expects them to be. Akerlof’s (1997:1008) model of social distance moreover sheds some light on this by theorising that folks revenue from lesser portions of social distance between them and thus have the inducement to evolve to expectations, what he labels The Conformist Model. A reduction of social distance between players could be achieved by perceived acts of kindness and so experimental recreation players may be eager to sacrifice monetary options so as to notice social options with one different participant. This incentive nonetheless, is as soon as extra based mostly totally on social distance and other people players who actually really feel socially far apart may actually really feel no should turn into socially nearer, a way that is lastly merely based mostly totally on their notion of the current social distance and social identities.

Two important strategies by which individuals set up themselves and others is by their nationality and gender. On the outset of mankind’s evolution, gender has been a typical divider of the human race, earlier all totally different identities. Rooted in our biology, gender is the most effective kind of classification, nevertheless its implications are far more wide-reaching than straightforward physiology. To the opposite intercourse, gender implies certain generalised roles, attitudes, commitments, experiences and life. The provision of such clear social stereotypes is simply partially natural and many lecturers are of the concept behavioural and psychological variations are created and perpetuated by unbalanced power and privilege buildings in society (Flax 1990). The amplification of social distance is attributable to the notion that qualities are gender specific, with masculinity and femininity being attributes in themselves, and the reality that men and women are typically associated to their relative positions in every family life and work life. Lockheed (1985) supposes that women are conceived as compliant followers and males dominant leaders solely as a result of frequent minority and majority steadiness that is frequent in social and work circumstances. The large disparity between the social id and exact realities of members of the opposite intercourse affords an excellent different to find to what extent interaction depends on unqualified perceptions and to map the impression of variations on this notion.

Not like gender identities, nationalism is a relatively new energy on the earth (Smith 1995). It could be seen as a gaggle id that has transcended some cultures, as seen inside the ethnically quite a few nations harking back to India and Russia, nevertheless divided others as seen inside the circumstances of North and South Korea and the Taiwanese and Chinese language language separation and is manifested in optimistic discrimination in route of fellow nationals and damaging discrimination in route of foreigners (Macesich, 1985). Breton (1964:378) notes that governments utilise “nationalistic gadgets… for the intention of accelerating the share of property in a given property in a given territory owned by the nationals of that territory”. Breton (1964) moreover observes that nationalistic redistribution of funding and capital ends in a lower price of return than could be realised if sources had been allotted successfully, an assertion that draws parallels with the character of social preferences on a rather a lot greater scale. The observe of promoting these nationalistic insurance coverage insurance policies that are not useful to certain inhabitants segments is centred on the formation of a nation-wide group id that promotes solidarity within the equivalent methodology that smaller scale groups do.

The membership of these nation-groups is printed consistent with quite a few commonalities. Members share an monetary system, a historic territory, myths and recollections, a public custom, and a set of approved rights (Smith 1991). What is clear from this definition is the dearth of fixed personal traits, illustrating that members of a nation-group differ considerably of their social and personal identities. The minimal nature of the nation-group is accepted by many lecturers, some seeing nationalism as an ironic instrument that encourages members to know points which could be nationwide for the mere proven fact that it is nationwide (Breton 1964). Karl Deutsch (1969:three) aptly described a nation as a “group of people united by a typical error about their ancestry and a typical dislike of their neighbours,” evoking the notion that nationwide id is a predominately social assemble inaccurately perceived to be linked to frequent traits, descent and preferences. (Smith 1996) stresses that the notion of 1’s private nationality and that of others is inherently solely emotional, implying a subjective disregard for purpose points that ends in large social distances between foreigners and nationals, and smaller social distances between nationals. Nonetheless inaccurate, the very substantial have an effect on nationality exerts could be seen by way of the stereotypical actions of distrusting of foreigners and supporting fellow country-men, making nationality one different superb candidate id to take a look at how variations in perceived id set off variations inside the social preferences displayed.

Experimental Design and Implementation

It is social id and its inherently variable prime quality that is on the coronary coronary heart of this look at. It is this look at’s purpose to seek out in what methodology the notion of this id can affect the extent that social preferences are displayed and whether or not or not or not a shift of focus from one kind of social id to a unique will set off a change in diploma of social preferences manifested. Given its ability to disclose these preferences, an extension of the Perception Recreation is used