Engineering human cooperation : DDDDDoes involuntary neural activation increase public goods contributions?


Journal Article

In a laboratory experiment, we use a public goods game to examine the hypothesis that human subjects use an involuntary eye-detector mechanism for evaluating the level of privacy. Half of our subjects are "watched" by images of a robot presented on their computer screen. The robot-named Kismet and invented at MIT-is constructed from objects that are obviously not human with the exception of its eyes. In our experiment, Kismet produces a significant difference in behavior that is not consistent with existing economic models of preferences, either self- or other-regarding. Subjects who are "watched" by Kismet contribute 29% more to the public good than do subjects in the same setting without Kismet. © 2007 Springer Science & Business Media, LLC.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Burnham, TC; Hare, B

Published Date

  • June 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 88 - 108

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1045-6767

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s12110-007-9012-2

Citation Source

  • Scopus