Back and Forth: An Investigation of Co-Adaptation During Social Exchange.

Shaw, D. J. (Aston University), Czekóová, K. (Masaryk University), Salazar, M. (Masaryk University), Staněk, R. (Masaryk University), Špalek, J. (Masaryk University)

Social interactions require mutual co-adaptation among individuals; to steer a social exchange towards a desired outcome, all interactants must adapt their own behaviour to that of their interaction partner. This is true especially during bargaining behaviour, wherein interactants must strike a balance between their own goals and those of their partner. This study developed an interactive paradigm to investigate individual differences in adaptive behaviour during bargaining. Over iterated exchanges, pairs of players were asked to divide a sum of money (the “pie”) between themselves and their opponent. When disagreement emerged players were required to bargain; they observed the two divisions requested by themselves and their partner, and the pie decreased at a fixed discount rate. Either player could stop the reward from decreasing by conceding and accepting their opponents’ proposal. This allowed us to investigate (1) whether individuals adopted an aggressive or passive strategy, or mimicked their opponent’s behaviour; and (2) if their bargaining behaviour was related to discrete personality traits. Preliminary results revealed two types of player strategies – aggressive and passive – and that players expressing action-oriented emotion regulation mimicked their opponent’s behaviour more than those expressing state-orientated tendencies. These findings reveal an important factor driving behaviour in social contexts.

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