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Reciprocal Discounting: Investigating Altruistic Choice and Reciprocation with Others
AuthorBuddiga, Natalie R.
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Discount functions indicate how the value of an outcome decreases with changes in some other variable. In the case of probability discounting, value decreases as the probability of receiving the outcome decreases. Whereas with social discounting, value decreases with increases in the social distance of the person receiving that outcome. A weak correlation has been found between probability and social discounting – potentially due to how increases in social distance track decreases in the probability of reciprocation (from that socially distant individual). The current experiments aim to better explore this relationship through comparing performance on three questionnaires, standard social and probability discounting questionnaires and a novel reciprocal discounting questionnaire, a novel allocation task, and novel probability task. The reciprocal discounting questionnaire asks participants to report what monetary amounts an individual at a particular social distance would forgo for self, the participant (e.g. “Which would Person 1 prefer: $75 for themselves OR $75 for you?). Experiment 1 found similar k-values between reciprocal and social discounting compared to either with probability discounting. Experiment 2 added the probability task which converted social distances to odds-against values, enhancing the comparison between social and reciprocal discounting with probability discounting. Results of Experiment 2 found a moderate correlation between social and reciprocal discounting compared to either with probability discounting. These results inform a potential relationship between measures of perceived reciprocation and an individual’s social discount rate.