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The actual effect of the representative role: a methodological clarification for representation studies


Cassina, Giorgio. The actual effect of the representative role: a methodological clarification for representation studies. 2019, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

Previous studies on the representative role compare representatives’ behaviors with individuals’ behaviors. Nevertheless, since representatives are a particular type of group members, previous designs inevitably did not distinguish between in-group favoritism effects and the actual effect of the representative role. Carrying on this methodological criticism, the present thesis suggests a new experimental design aimed at disentangling the two effects. Specifically, this study’s aim is to causally determine the effect of the representative role on individuals’ cooperation and understand which mechanisms foster the representation effect. To do so, an online experiment was conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk. The results show that neither the in-group favoritism effect nor the effect of the representative role alone seem to have any significant influence on participants’ cooperative behaviors, but by conducting the same analysis done by previous studies a decrease in cooperation for representatives can be detected. However, previous interpretations are criticized and the decrease in cooperation is attributed to the interaction between the representation effect and the in-group favoritism effect and not to the representation effect alone. Additionally, self-reported data collected in the post-experimental survey displays that representatives do feel accountable for the represented group mates and, therefore, are willing to equally share their payoff. Finally, for future studies, this research suggests the use of more efficient minimal group procedures to better understand the isolated representation effect and the use of actual behaviors to investigate the mechanisms that lie at the basis of the representative role.

Abstract

Previous studies on the representative role compare representatives’ behaviors with individuals’ behaviors. Nevertheless, since representatives are a particular type of group members, previous designs inevitably did not distinguish between in-group favoritism effects and the actual effect of the representative role. Carrying on this methodological criticism, the present thesis suggests a new experimental design aimed at disentangling the two effects. Specifically, this study’s aim is to causally determine the effect of the representative role on individuals’ cooperation and understand which mechanisms foster the representation effect. To do so, an online experiment was conducted on Amazon Mechanical Turk. The results show that neither the in-group favoritism effect nor the effect of the representative role alone seem to have any significant influence on participants’ cooperative behaviors, but by conducting the same analysis done by previous studies a decrease in cooperation for representatives can be detected. However, previous interpretations are criticized and the decrease in cooperation is attributed to the interaction between the representation effect and the in-group favoritism effect and not to the representation effect alone. Additionally, self-reported data collected in the post-experimental survey displays that representatives do feel accountable for the represented group mates and, therefore, are willing to equally share their payoff. Finally, for future studies, this research suggests the use of more efficient minimal group procedures to better understand the isolated representation effect and the use of actual behaviors to investigate the mechanisms that lie at the basis of the representative role.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Master's Thesis
Referees:Rauhut Heiko
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Uncontrolled Keywords:representative role, in-group favoritism, Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), responsibility, accountability, implicit justification, minimal group, intergroup interaction, imagination procedure, cooperation
Language:English
Date:5 June 2019
Deposited On:27 Oct 2020 17:08
Last Modified:27 Oct 2020 17:18
OA Status:Green

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