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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 Review: Reciprocity Principle

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Western University
Psychology 3721F/G
Nelson Heapy

Lecture 2: The Reciprocity Principle Back scratching, Eyes, and Teeth  I can do something for you with the reasonable understanding that you will repay me in kind eventually  No sense of immediacy or for the repayment to be the exactly the same, but for there to be an equal value  We unconsciously have the expectation that what you give will be returned in kind  The reciprocity principle is thought to be at the core of what human society is all about – exchanging expertise in rapid ways without always having to be paid up front  Argued by many that without credit, an economy would fail – for an economy to thrive the people have to spend a little more than they have at the moment  Another thing that is impressive with this is that this kind of idea is engrained in every known human society – no society that has been discovered where this principle is not held The Rule  The penalty of „not playing by the rules‟ is by in large associated with penalties for those who do not follow the reciprocity rules  Christmas cards o A sociologist went to the phone book in his city and randomly chose 250 names and sent them all Christmas cards o Made sure his return address was on all the envelopes o Interested in seeing how many people would send a card back even though a complete stranger sent it to them o 86% of people sent a card back – dramatic power that this principle has – not wanting to make a mistake and not reciprocating  What is the rule? o „The rule‟ – whoever sent you one should receive one back o When you go to a dinner party usually people bring a bottle of wine o If you have gone to someone else‟s for dinner, a likely consequence of that is that you have them over for dinner – feel the desire/obligation to return the favour o Creates a viscous circle o If you don‟t play by that rule, you will not be in anyone‟s good books in terms of dinner party invitations  The universality of the rule – the weird Ethiopian donation to Mexico o Might be useful in giving us insight in peculiar international events that have occurred o Mexico suffered a catastrophic earthquake a couple years ago o Ethiopia donated a check to Mexico for $5,000 o The problem was that at the time Ethiopia was going through massive starvation – was listed as the poorest country at the time o Why this happened has to do with what happened 50 years previous  WW2 – Italian mechanized army attacked Ethiopia for its natural resources o One of the few countries at that time who donated money to Ethiopia after the aftermath of that was Mexico o This gives us a sense of how enduring a sense of obligation can be – when you are given a gift it sets us up with a sense of obligation on your part to return that gift that is really profound in terms of its impact on normal people (vs. psychopaths with no consciences)  The dynamics of the rule o The Regan study  You are in a first year class and are taking part of a research credit – wants you to appraise different works of art and rate them depending on your appreciation of the pieces of art  Only two of you – are going to rate different pictures put up on a screen  There is a break before continuing  In one condition, the other person goes off to get a drink and brings one to the other participant  The participant accepts the drink and is appreciative  In another condition, the person comes back from the break without a drink for the other  The second part of the study continued approximately the same length of the first part, there is another break  The second participant tells you that they are selling raffle tickets for their brother‟s hockey team  Whether the gift giving influenced the number of raffle tickets bought  it did  Individuals in the gift giving situation bought more raffle tickets than non-gift giving condition  People will reciprocate  The value of the raffle tickets purchased exceeds the value of the initial drink – if someone gives you a gift, in effort to return the favour you are willing to give more than you received from the other person  common finding  The sense of burden of obligation is significant enough that we want to discharge it as soon as the opportunity arises even if we give back more than we received o Reciprocity over liking  The variable of linking is extremely important in terms of persuasive impact  The more you like someone in a compliance setting where one person is trying to influence you, that person is going to be more successful vs. if you don‟t like them  The reciprocity dynamic is probably more important than liking  In all conditions of a study, the confederate is rated by the real subject (gift and no gift conditions) – the real subject at the end of the study is asked to rate the confederate as how much they like them  In the gift giving situation they are liked more than no gift situation, even though there is variation in likeability in the no gift situation  the confederate is considered fairly likeable  More money was given in the gift giving situation – exceeded the correlation between liking and giving – reciprocity trumps liking as a variable The Hare Krishna  From rags (colourful ones) to riches o Has been around as a religious sect for centuries o Originated in India and was a group that, like a lot of religious groups in India, relied on begging for their livelihood but were similar to Buddhist monks o Begging was not seen as deviant act like it is in North America – not a disrespected form of attaining money for religious aspects in India o They decide to broadened their appeal and move to North America o This kind of tradition that they are trying to bring over didn‟t work very well o When they first came to the U.S., it was during the 60‟s („flower power‟, peaceful opposition to the Vietnam war) – significant number of young people who became really swept up in what seamed to be an optimistic, idealistic, more community oriented perspective of a variety of things o Had a sincere effort to be missionaries and gain new members by traveling over to the States o They come to North America and expect begging to work – not respected here as it is in India o They realize that they have a public relations problem – not just about begging, but also how they dress/look  The Hare Krishna as reciprocity experts o Were concerned about how to encourage/promote a more positive attitude towards and respect for their religion and respect the fact that begging is not evil, it is how spiritual people remain spiritually pure while not relying on the market place for their money o Realized if you want people to help you, you should do something for them o Started to tone down their outfits (more westernized vs. Indian-like) and positioned themselves in public places (airports, etc.) where there is a lot of traffic o Their strategy was to identify themselves to people and to give them a gift – not being cynical, it was actually a part of their religion o Started by giving out a pamphlet about their religious quest, etc. o Made sure that you accepted their gift o Ended up getting more money back that cost to print the booklets  Flowers and Airports o Became famous for eventually giving out flowers o Eventually all throughout north America, the hare Krishna spread – became one of the most enormous success story ever o Realized that most people were accepting these gifts a little under duress – people were throwing out the flowers o Hare Krishna would „recycle‟ the flowers, increasing their profit even more o Even if you are receiving an unwanted gift, you still reciprocate (usually more than you receive) o Eventually bi-laws past that they could no longer solicit in the airports, train stations, etc. o Eventually goes from rags to riches and back to rags once again all due to the reciprocity principle Politics  “I don‟t owe the vested interests anything”  President Johnson vs. President Carter o The success they had in having an impact of the political and social fabric of the US
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