Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


Affect and metacognition in the Ultimatum

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

Andrade and Ho submitted their subjects to the following ultimatum game: Proposers keep 50% or 75% of the "pie" to be divided; responders can change the size of the pie (from 0 to $1). When proposers were told that responders just watched a funny sitcom, they tended to make 'unfair' offers (keep 75%). They were, according to the authors, expecting responders to be in a good mood and thus to be more tolerant to unfairness. There was no such effect when they were told that the receiver watched an anger-inducing movie clip. The effect also disappears when proposers know that receiver know that proposers had this information. In other words, proposers in this setting are emotional strategists and rely on affective metacognition to devise the best move.