Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Strong institutions reduce in-group favoritism

Date:
May 5, 2014
Source:
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Summary:
Ineffective social and political institutions make people more likely to favor their family and own local social group, while good institutions make them more likely to follow impersonal rules that are fair to everyone, suggests a new study. A series of experiments found that people in societies with supportive government services, food security and institutions that meet their basic needs were very likely to follow impartial rules about how to give out money. By contrast, those without effective, reliable institutions showed favoritism toward members of their local community.

Ineffective social and political institutions make people more likely to favor their family and own local social group, while good institutions make them more likely to follow impersonal rules that are fair to everyone, suggests a forthcoming study in the journal Human Nature.

A series of experiments found that people in societies with supportive government services, food security and institutions that meet their basic needs were very likely to follow impartial rules about how to give out money. By contrast, those without effective, reliable institutions showed favoritism toward members of their local community.

"If you don't have well-functioning governments then you need these kinds of motivations, because then you're doing what's best for your group and for your local community," says CIFAR (Canadian Institute for Advanced Research) Senior Fellow Joseph Henrich (University of British Columbia), the co-principal investigator on the study.

"You're just trying to survive in a world where there's no a higher-level governmental institutions you can depend on," says Henrich, a member of the Institutions, Organizations & Growth (IOG) program.

The study, done in Bangladesh, Bolivia, Fiji, China, Iceland and the United States, tested motivations using a game. Researchers gave subjects half a day's wages in cash and placed them before two cups.

They told the subjects that the money placed in one cup would go to an unspecified member of their community or group at the end of the game, while the money in the other cup would go to an outsider.

Played fairly, the game would result in both cups having the same amount of money at the end. Researchers made sure individual players knew that no one could see them cheating while the game was being played. But statistical analysis after the game was over detected whether allocation biases or "cheating" had taken place.

The study found that people from countries with effective institutions followed the rules, while people from countries with poor institutions were biased in in favor of community members.

From the government deemed least effective, Bangladesh, to the one deemed most effective, the United States, participants showed a significant decline in favoritism toward their own group. In a Bangladeshi village, the subjects allotted 55.7 per cent of the money to their fellow villagers. At a U.S. church, the congregation ended up with 50.1 per cent of the share.

"In a world with well-functioning institutions, this gets inside of people and actually affects their basic motivations, even when they're in a situation when no one is watching," Henrich says.

Henrich says the research ties into the themes of the IOG program, as it demonstrates the complex social and psychological effects of institutions on societies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The original article was written by Lindsay Jolivet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. "Strong institutions reduce in-group favoritism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505142048.htm>.
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. (2014, May 5). Strong institutions reduce in-group favoritism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505142048.htm
Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. "Strong institutions reduce in-group favoritism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140505142048.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins