Creator: Feger, Hubert
Contributor: Feger, Hubert; Lorenz, Doreen; Czienskowski, Uwe
Title: Studies from the communication laboratory of the department social psychology and research methodology of the Freie Universitaet Berlin: Distribution and exchange. Primary data.
Year of Publication: 2004
Citation: Feger, H., Lorenz, D., & Czienskowski, U. (2004). Studies from the communication laboratory of the department social psychology and research methodology of the Freie Universitaet Berlin: Distribution and exchange. Primary data. [Translated Title] (Version 1.0.0) [Data and Documentation]. Trier: Center for Research Data in Psychology: PsychData of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology ZPID. https://doi.org/10.5160/psychdata.frht01ko26
The starting point of this study series originates from a study by Flament and Apfelbaum which was published in 1966 in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. They investigated the influence of communication and positive socioaffective neutral values on group structure. Neutral and positive socioaffective values were measured through trading cards that were either marked with a “+” sign or not marked at all. 20 groups of four male participants who had a differing number of positive cards (different resources) at their disposal were examined. The authors found that fixed exchange relationships developed during the exchange processes: The resource-strong coalition favored each other in the course of the experiment while the resource-weak, who tried in vain to disrupt the coalition of the resource strong, also formed a coalition at the end of the experiment. This experiment was a starting point of further investigations. Feger and von Hecker (1998) were able to partially replicate the findings. Later, Biele (1998) examined the continuous distribution of different resource items.
Based on these findings, this study documents the internal exchange behavior within groups. In a computerized experiment, four subjects are placed in a game situation. In each game round, players are required to share a predetermined amount of the allocated start-up capital with a teammate. The aim of the game is to accumulate as large a sum of money as possible in 200 game rounds.
Part of the experimental design is that the allocated start-up capital varies between groups: In Study 8 the allocated start-up capital was the same for all players, while in Study 9 the four players were each assigned a different amount of start-up capital (different resource distribution condition).
The key findings are:
1. The resource-strong subjects were strongly preferred over the resource weak. Trial participants who started out with more resources in the game had significantly more money in the end than did the other two participants who started with fewer resources in the game.
2. The resource-weak replicated the choices of the resource-strong more frequently than the choices of the resource-weak.
3. There was less interaction between the resource-weak subjects then between the resource-weak and the resource-strong. The resource-weak preferred to interact with the resource-strong.
1. In groups with different initial resources the funds will not be distributed equally.
2. The subjects will apply the principles of reciprocity and choice response.
3. Those with a lot of resources will finish the investigation stronger than those with few resources
Research Design: Experimental Design, Mixed Design, Laboratory Experiment; single measurement
Subjects participated in a computer-based game involving a total of 4 players. Each player had a certain amount of money available, part of which had to be passed on to one of the players in each round. The subjects could give this to whom they wanted in the hopes this giving would be reciprocated. The players had contact strictly via the computer network. As the assignment was random, subjects could not identify with whom they were playing.
Experimental conditions varied:
Study 8: Each player received a starting credit of DM 20. In each round, exactly 10 Pfennig was passed to one of the players (different sum not paooisble).
10 groups of 4 players were studied.
Study 9: The 4 players varying starting credits of DM 30 (player M), DM 24(player O), DM 16 (player L, and DM 10 (Player N). In each round, each player must pass exactly 1/200 part of the credit balance to a teammate to. 9 groups of 4 players were studied.
In both groups 200 rounds of the game were played. The money earned was paid out to participants after the experiment.
The assignment of subjects to groups, the positions within each group, and the experimental conditions “equal distribution of resources” vs “unequal distribution of resources” were random.
Data Collection Method:
Data collection in the presence of an experimenter
Survey Time Period:
Study 8: November 28-December 12, 2000
Study 9: February 2-12, 2001
Sample: Convenience sample
Age Distribution: 19-25 years
Spatial Coverage (Country/Region/City): Germany
Subject Recruitment: For the most part students majored in psychology (80%).
The students were given the money “earned” after completion of the experiment, (about DM 20,, depending on the game outcome).
Sample Size: 19 groups (=76 individuals)