Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Psychol Sci. 2008 Dec;19(12):1280-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02223.x.

Reciprocity is not give and take: asymmetric reciprocity to positive and negative acts.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Chicago, 5848 S. University Ave., Chicago, IL 60637, USA. boaz@uchicago.edu

Abstract

Unlike economic exchange, social exchange has no well-defined "value." It is based on the norm of reciprocity, in which giving and taking are to be repaid in equivalent measure. Although giving and taking are colloquially assumed to be equivalent actions, we demonstrate that they produce different patterns of reciprocity. In five experiments utilizing a dictator game, people reciprocated in like measure to apparently prosocial acts of giving, but reciprocated more selfishly to apparently antisocial acts of taking, even when the objective outcomes of the acts of giving and taking were identical. Additional results demonstrate that acts of giving in social exchanges are perceived as more generous than objectively identical acts of taking, that taking tends to escalate, and that the asymmetry in reciprocity is not due to gaining versus losing resources. Reciprocity appears to operate on an exchange rate that assigns value to the meaning of events, in a fashion that encourages prosocial exchanges.

PMID:
19121138
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk