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Towards an understanding of the endogenous nature of group identification in games
  • John Smith
  • Katerina Bezrukova, Santa Clara University
Document Type
Publication Date
Elsevier B.V.
It is commonly assumed that identification with a social group is constant throughout the play of a one-shot game in the absence of feedback. We provide evidence which challenges this assumption. We direct subjects to play one of two versions of the prisoner's dilemma game. These versions are distinguished by the relative attractiveness of the uncooperative action. We refer to the version with a relatively attractive uncooperative action as the Easy Game and the other as the Difficult Game. We find that for the subjects who play the Difficult Game, their change in group identification is significantly related to their action selected. No such relationship exists within the Easy Game. Additionally, we find that the change primarily occurs after the action is selected rather than upon inspection of the game. We discuss the implications of our findings to settings both inside and outside of the laboratory.

NOTICE: this is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in The Social Science Journal. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in The Social Science Journal, Vol. 50, No. 2, (2013) doi:10.1016/j.soscij.2012.12.002

Citation Information
Smith, John, and Katerina Bezrukova. "Toward an Understanding of the Endogenous Nature of Group Identification in Games." The Social Science Journal 50.2 (2013): 204-12.