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The dark side of personality: anti-sociality increases strategic game play


Engelmann, Jan B.; Schmid, Basil; Chumbley, Justin R; Fehr, Ernst (2018). The dark side of personality: anti-sociality increases strategic game play. Tinbergen Institute disscussion paper 2018-010/I, Tinbergen Institute.

Abstract

We assess the role of anti-social personality traits in explaining heterogeneity in commonly observed social preferences. We identified a personality profile that clearly reflects anti-social personality characteristics, with high positive loadings on Machiavellianism and high negative loadings on empathy, trustworthiness and agreeableness. Anti-sociality predicts decision strategies in a manner that is consistent with its name: significantly lower levels of trust and decreased trustworthiness. To identify the strategic nature of anti-social behavior in changing environments, we assessed the moderating role of personality on investor trust and trustee reciprocity in the presence relative to the absence of the investor’s option to punish. Our results show that only the anti-social personality profile is associated with specific payoff maximizing strategy shifts induced by these environmental changes: when punishment was not available to investors, we observe significantly lower levels of investor trust and trustee reciprocity, while there is a significant increase in both behaviors when punishment was available. These effects were specific for anti-sociality, as no other personality factor was associated with such a strong adjustment of decision strategies in the presence of punishment. These results demonstrate that anti-social personality characteristics are associated with strategic behavioral shifts aimed at maximizing the extraction of resources from their counterparts. The reliability of the strategic effects of anti-social personality during trust, reciprocity and punishment strongly supports the notion that self-projection underlies anti-social decision-making.

Abstract

We assess the role of anti-social personality traits in explaining heterogeneity in commonly observed social preferences. We identified a personality profile that clearly reflects anti-social personality characteristics, with high positive loadings on Machiavellianism and high negative loadings on empathy, trustworthiness and agreeableness. Anti-sociality predicts decision strategies in a manner that is consistent with its name: significantly lower levels of trust and decreased trustworthiness. To identify the strategic nature of anti-social behavior in changing environments, we assessed the moderating role of personality on investor trust and trustee reciprocity in the presence relative to the absence of the investor’s option to punish. Our results show that only the anti-social personality profile is associated with specific payoff maximizing strategy shifts induced by these environmental changes: when punishment was not available to investors, we observe significantly lower levels of investor trust and trustee reciprocity, while there is a significant increase in both behaviors when punishment was available. These effects were specific for anti-sociality, as no other personality factor was associated with such a strong adjustment of decision strategies in the presence of punishment. These results demonstrate that anti-social personality characteristics are associated with strategic behavioral shifts aimed at maximizing the extraction of resources from their counterparts. The reliability of the strategic effects of anti-social personality during trust, reciprocity and punishment strongly supports the notion that self-projection underlies anti-social decision-making.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Trust, reciprocity, punishment, anti-social, personality, individual differences
Language:English
Date:October 2018
Deposited On:23 Jan 2019 13:30
Last Modified:22 Feb 2019 13:58
Series Name:Tinbergen Institute disscussion paper
Number of Pages:18
Additional Information:Auch in SSRN erschienen
OA Status:Green
Official URL:http://www.tinbergen.nl/discussionpaper/?paper=2872
Related URLs:http://www.tinbergen.nl/discussionpapers/

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