Special Issue "Behavior Regulation and Conflicted Emotions: Theory and Experimental Evidence"

A special issue of Games (ISSN 2073-4336).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Roman Sheremeta

Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7235, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: experimental economics; game theory; conflict resolution
Guest Editor
Dr. Eric Schniter

Argyros School of Business and Economics, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute, Chapman University, One University Drive, Orange, CA, 92866, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: emotions; relationship maintenance; communication; trust; cooperation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We invite contributions to a Special Issue in Games on “Behavior Regulation and Conflicted Emotions: Theory and Experimental Evidence”. The goal of this Special Issue is to bring together current research on emotions and regulation of behaviour (whether of self or others). We are interested in theoretical, experimental and empirical contributions that focus (but not exclusively) on emotions and behaviour regulation in games, emotions and decision making, emotions and self-control, conflicted (or mixed) emotions, and emotion regulation.

Interested authors are also invited to contact the Special Issue Guest Editors, Roman Sheremeta (rms246@case.edu) and Eric Schniter (schniter@chapman.edu), to discuss the fit of various topics to the Special Issue.

Dr. Roman Sheremeta
Dr. Eric Schniter
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Games is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • emotions
  • behavior regulation
  • game theory
  • experiments

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Gender, Emotions, and Tournament Performance in the Laboratory
Games 2017, 8(3), 26; doi:10.3390/g8030026
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 20 June 2017 / Published: 28 June 2017
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Abstract
Individuals face competitive environments daily, and it is important to understand how emotions affect behavior in these environments and resulting economic consequences. Using a two-stage laboratory experiment, I analyze the role of reported emotions in tournament performance and assess how the behavioral response
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Individuals face competitive environments daily, and it is important to understand how emotions affect behavior in these environments and resulting economic consequences. Using a two-stage laboratory experiment, I analyze the role of reported emotions in tournament performance and assess how the behavioral response differs across genders. The first stage serves to induce emotions, while the second stage presents the subject with a one-on-one winner-take-all tournament with the individual who generated the feeling, using a real-effort task. Ultimately, I show that women respond to the negative feelings more strongly than men. I find that women increase performance when experiencing negative emotions, while male performance remains unaffected. Remarkably, there is no gender gap in tournament performance when there are negative emotions. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Emotions and Behavior Regulation in Decision Dilemmas
Games 2017, 8(2), 22; doi:10.3390/g8020022
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 19 April 2017 / Accepted: 12 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1065 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We introduce a dynamic model of emotional behavior regulation that can generalize to a wide range of decision dilemmas. Dilemmas are characterized by availability of mutually exclusive goals that a decision maker is dually motivated to pursue. In our model, previous goal pursuant
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We introduce a dynamic model of emotional behavior regulation that can generalize to a wide range of decision dilemmas. Dilemmas are characterized by availability of mutually exclusive goals that a decision maker is dually motivated to pursue. In our model, previous goal pursuant decisions produce negative emotions that regulate an individual’s propensity to further pursue those goals at future times. This emotional regulation of behavior helps explain the non-stationarity and switching observed between so-called “preferences” revealed in repeated decision dilemmas (e.g., by choosing A over B at time 1, then choosing B over A at time 2). We also explain how behavior regulation under dilemma conditions is affected by the set of available options and how the strength and decay rate of emotions affect the tendency to choose behaviors pursuant of extremely (rather than moderately) different options over time. We discuss how emotional behavior regulation insights provided by our model can extend to a variety of topics including approach and avoidance, temptation and self-control, moral balancing, impulse buying and shopping momentum, dieting and exercise, work and leisure, sleep regulation, cooperation, and competition. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle A Study of the Triggers of Conflict and Emotional Reactions
Games 2017, 8(2), 21; doi:10.3390/g8020021
Received: 21 January 2017 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 30 March 2017 / Published: 20 April 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (395 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We study three triggers of conflict and explore their resultant emotional reactions in a laboratory experiment. Economists suggest that the primary trigger of conflict is monetary incentives. Social psychologists suggest that conflicts are often triggered by fear. Finally, evolutionary biologists suggest that a
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We study three triggers of conflict and explore their resultant emotional reactions in a laboratory experiment. Economists suggest that the primary trigger of conflict is monetary incentives. Social psychologists suggest that conflicts are often triggered by fear. Finally, evolutionary biologists suggest that a third trigger is uncertainty about an opponent’s desire to cause harm. Consistent with the predictions from economics, social psychology, and evolutionary biology, we find that conflict originates from all three triggers. The three triggers differently impact the frequency of conflict, but not the intensity. Also, we find that the frequency and intensity of conflict decrease positive emotions and increase negative emotions and that conflict impacts negative emotions more than positive emotions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Watching Eyes and Living up to Expectations: Unkind, Not Kind, Eyes Increase First Mover Cooperation in a Sequential Prisoner’s Dilemma
Games 2017, 8(2), 20; doi:10.3390/g8020020
Received: 14 January 2017 / Revised: 20 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 11 April 2017
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Abstract
(1) Background: Why and when images of watching eyes encourage prosocial behavior is still subject to discussion, and two recent meta-analyses show no effect of watching eyes on generosity. This study aims to discern the effect of watching eyes of different valence on
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(1) Background: Why and when images of watching eyes encourage prosocial behavior is still subject to discussion, and two recent meta-analyses show no effect of watching eyes on generosity. This study aims to discern the effect of watching eyes of different valence on two separate aspects of prosocial behavior, and additionally investigates whether individuals’ social value orientation moderates the effect of eyes. (2) Methods: Individuals take on the role of either a first or second mover in an incentivized, anonymous sequential prisoner’s dilemma (n = 247), a two-person game which separates the need to form expectations about the other player (first mover cooperation, trust) from the motive of greed (second mover cooperation, reciprocity). During decision-making, a picture of either kind eyes, unkind eyes, or a control picture is presented above each decision matrix. (3) Results: The results indicate that unkind eyes, and not kind eyes, significantly boost first mover cooperation. In contrast, neither type of eye cues increase second mover cooperation. Social value orientation does not moderate these effects. (4) Conclusions: Thus, the data suggest that the valence of eye cues matters, and we propose that unkind eyes urge first movers to live up to the interaction partner’s expectations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Emotion at Stake—The Role of Stake Size and Emotions in a Power-to-Take Game Experiment in China with a Comparison to Europe
Games 2017, 8(1), 17; doi:10.3390/g8010017
Received: 14 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
This paper experimentally investigates how monetary incentives and emotions influence behavior in a two-player power-to-take game (PTTG). In this game, one player can claim any part of the other's endowment (take rate), and the second player can respond by destroying any part of
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This paper experimentally investigates how monetary incentives and emotions influence behavior in a two-player power-to-take game (PTTG). In this game, one player can claim any part of the other's endowment (take rate), and the second player can respond by destroying any part of his or her own endowment. The experiment is run in China. We further compare our findings with the behavior of two European subject pools. Our results give new insights regarding emotion regulation. Even though stake size does not appear to matter for take rates and destruction rates, it does matter for the reaction function of the responder regarding the take rate. When stakes are high, there is less destruction for low and intermediate take rates, and more destruction for high take rates, compared to relatively low stakes. Under low incentives, ‘hot’ anger-type emotions are important for destruction, while ‘cool’ contempt becomes prominent under high monetary incentives. These results suggest emotion regulation in the high-stake condition. Moreover, emotions are found to fully mediate the impact of the take rate on destruction when stakes are low, whereas they only partially do so if stakes are high. Comparing the low-stakes data for China with existing European data, we find similarities in behavior, emotions and emotion intensities, as well as the full mediation of the take rate by emotions. We find some differences related to the type of emotions that are important for destruction. Whereas anger and joy are important in both, in addition, irritation and fear play a role in China, while this holds for contempt in the EU. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Others’ Risk‐Taking Behavior from Their Affective States: Experimental Evidence Using a Stag Hunt Game
Games 2017, 8(1), 9; doi:10.3390/g8010009
Received: 15 November 2016 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 1 February 2017
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Abstract
Researchers are increasingly exploring the role of emotions in interactive decision‐making. Recent theories have focused on the interpersonal effects of emotions—the influence of the decisionmaker’s expressed emotions on observers’ decisions and judgments. In this paper, we examine whether people assess others’ risk preferences
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Researchers are increasingly exploring the role of emotions in interactive decision‐making. Recent theories have focused on the interpersonal effects of emotions—the influence of the decisionmaker’s expressed emotions on observers’ decisions and judgments. In this paper, we examine whether people assess others’ risk preferences on the basis of their emotional states, whether this affects their own behavior, and how this assessment matches others’ actual behavior. To test these ideas, we used an experimental Stag Hunt game (n = 98), and included non‐trivial financial consequences. Participants were told (truthfully) that their counterparts’ previous task had left them happy, fearful, or emotionally neutral. People who were told their counterparts were fearful reported that they expected less risky decisions from these counterparts than people told their counterparts were neutral or happy. As a result, given that the Stag Hunt is a coordination game, these participants were themselves less risky. Interestingly, these participants’ expectations were not accurate; thus, coordination failed, and payoffs were low. This raises the possibility of a “curse of knowledge” whereby one player’s erroneous beliefs about the effects of the counterpart’s emotional state leads the first player to make poor action choices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Anger Management: Aggression and Punishment in the Provision of Public Goods
Games 2017, 8(1), 5; doi:10.3390/g8010005
Received: 2 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 22 January 2017
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Abstract
The ability to punish free-riders can increase the provision of public goods. However, sometimes, the benefit of increased public good provision is outweighed by the costs of punishments. One reason a group may punish to the point that net welfare is reduced is
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The ability to punish free-riders can increase the provision of public goods. However, sometimes, the benefit of increased public good provision is outweighed by the costs of punishments. One reason a group may punish to the point that net welfare is reduced is that punishment can express anger about free-riding. If this is the case, then tools that regulate emotions could decrease the use of punishments while keeping welfare high, possibly depending on pre-existing levels of aggression. In this lab experiment, we find that adopting an objective attitude (objective), through a form of emotion regulation called cognitive reappraisal, decreases the use of punishments and makes a statistically insignificant improvement to both net earnings and self-reported emotions compared to a control condition (natural). Although the interaction between the emotion regulation treatment and level of aggression is not significant, only low aggression types reduce their punishments; the results are of the same direction, but statistically insignificant for high aggression types. Overall, our findings suggest that pairing emotion regulation with punishments can decrease the use of punishments without harming monetary and mental welfare. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evolution of Mindsight and Psychological Commitment among Strategically Interacting Agents
Games 2016, 7(3), 27; doi:10.3390/g7030027
Received: 27 May 2016 / Revised: 3 September 2016 / Accepted: 9 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
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Abstract
We study the evolution of strategic psychological capabilities in a population of interacting agents. Specifically, we consider agents which are either blind or with mindsight, and either transparent or opaque. An agent with mindsight can observe the psychological makeup of a transparent agent,
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We study the evolution of strategic psychological capabilities in a population of interacting agents. Specifically, we consider agents which are either blind or with mindsight, and either transparent or opaque. An agent with mindsight can observe the psychological makeup of a transparent agent, i.e., its logic, emotions, commitments and other elements that determine how it chooses actions. A blind agent cannot observe and opaque agents cannot be observed. Our assumption that mindsight and transparency are costly and optional exposes a middle ground between standard game theory without mindsight and evolution of preferences theory with obligatory and costless mindsight. We show that the only evolutionarily stable monomorphic population is one in which all agents are blind, opaque, and act-rational. We find that mindsight, transparency, and rule-rational commitments may evolve, albeit only in a portion of the population that fluctuates in size over generations. We reexamine the Ultimatum and Trust games in light of our findings and demonstrate that an evolved population of agents can differ significantly from a population of simplistic payoff-maximizers in terms of psychological traits and economic outcomes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Trait Emotional Intelligence Is Related to Risk Taking when Adolescents Make Deliberative Decisions
Games 2016, 7(3), 23; doi:10.3390/g7030023
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 25 August 2016 / Accepted: 26 August 2016 / Published: 31 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (316 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most forms of risky behavior reach their peak during adolescence. A prominent line of research is exploring the relationship between people’s emotional self-efficacy and risk taking, but little is known about this relationship in the cognitive-deliberative domain among adolescents. The main aim of
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Most forms of risky behavior reach their peak during adolescence. A prominent line of research is exploring the relationship between people’s emotional self-efficacy and risk taking, but little is known about this relationship in the cognitive-deliberative domain among adolescents. The main aim of the present study consists in investigating whether trait EI (Emotional Intelligence) is positively related to risk taking under predominantly cognitive-deliberative conditions among adolescents. Ninety-four adolescents played the cold version of the Columbia Card Task one month following an assessment of their trait EI. Results showed that trait EI is associated with risk taking under cognitive-deliberative conditions among adolescents. Moreover, the present research showed that trait EI is related to risk taking through the decision makers’ self-motivation. These results provide novel insights into research investigating the connections between emotional intelligence, decision science and adolescence research. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview The Emotional Moves of a Rational Actor: Smiles, Scowls, and Other Credible Messages
Games 2017, 8(2), 18; doi:10.3390/g8020018
Received: 21 January 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (595 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many scholars turn to emotions to understand irrational behavior. We do the opposite: we turn to rationality and game theory to understand people’s emotions. We discuss a striking theory of emotions that began with the game theory of credible threats and promises, then
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Many scholars turn to emotions to understand irrational behavior. We do the opposite: we turn to rationality and game theory to understand people’s emotions. We discuss a striking theory of emotions that began with the game theory of credible threats and promises, then was enriched by evolutionary biology and psychology, and now is being tested in psychological experiments. We review some of these experiments which use economic games to set up strategic situations with real payoffs. The experiments test whether a player’s emotional expressions lend credibility to promises, threats, and claims of danger or hardship. The results offer insights into the hidden strategies behind a warm smile, an angry scowl, a look of terror, and eyes of despair. Full article
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