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Third-Party Punishment of Groups
Sorenson, Clare M.

2010, Master of Arts, Ohio State University, Psychology.
These two studies were designed to test the dynamics associated with the punishment of an entire group when only a subset of the group violates a social norm. This punishment usually provides no direct benefits to the punisher, classifying it as third-party punishment. In Experiment 1, participants read a hypothetical scenario about a classroom in which one student took more cookies than allowed. The number of cookies was varied as well as the punishment target (individual, a group with knowledge of the offender, and a group without knowledge of the offender). Basic results showed high levels of punishment for most conditions. Participants did punish individuals and groups with knowledge more than groups without knowledge. They also punished them more severely.
In Experiment 2, participants were allowed to punish hypothetical players of a public goods game. Target (individual versus group) was again manipulated as well as magnitude (4 levels). I found higher frequency of punishment and higher severity for individuals versus groups.
These results seem to indicate that while group punishment might occur at a lower frequency than individual punishment and be lower in severity, it does still occur. I observed much higher rates of punishment in Experiment 1 versus Experiment 2 that may be accounted for by entitativity (how well one member of a group represents the group as a whole) and the social norm being violated
(stealing cookies is more clearly a violation than not contributing in a public goods game). Further research will seek to investigate the effects of entitativity and various social norms.
Michael DeKay, PhD (Advisor)
Hal Arkes, PhD (Committee Member)
Michael Edwards, PhD (Committee Member)
66 p.

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Sorenson, Clare "Third-Party Punishment of Groups." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2010.


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