Is Cheater/Cooperator Detection an In-Group Phenomenon? Some Preliminary Findings

  • Jan Verplaetse Department of Jurisprudence and Legal History, The Moral Brain, Ghent University
  • Sven Vanneste
Keywords: cheater/cooperator detection, trust game, crosscultural


Whereas predictive detection of (non-)cooperative intentions among humans is well-documented, virtually nothing is known about the cross-cultural extent of this possibly evolved social intuition. In this study we asked Caucasian participants to judge Japanese subjects who played a trust game in which they either fairly divided the money (sharer) or kept the entire sum (non-sharer). After watching 5-seconds videotapes taken around decision Caucasian subjects were able to discriminate non-sharing and sharing Japanese targets slightly above chance level (51.71%). The non-sharers accuracy rate was 52.32% and the sharers accuracy rate was 51.10%, but significant higher than would be expected from randomly guessing alone. This preliminary finding suggests that successful cheater/cooperator detection is not limited to own-culture targets and questions the in-group nature of this social intuition.