Do perceiver effects in interpersonal perception predict cooperation in social dilemmas?


People’s general tendencies to view others as cold-hearted and manipulative (rather than affectionate and trustworthy) may explain defection in social dilemma situations. To capture idiosyncratic tendencies in other-perceptions, we collected mutual judgments in groups of unacquainted individuals in two studies (N1 = 83, N2 = 413) and extracted perceiver effect scores using the Social Relations Model. In both studies, participants later played a public goods game. In Study 1, perceiver effects predicted cooperation beyond self-reported and group-related control variables. However, results were not replicated in a preregistered second study with higher power and a more diverse sample. We discuss implicit group norms as a likely explanation for the inconsistent findings and suggest future directions for addressing generalized expectations in social dilemmas.

Collabra: Psychology, 6(1), 35