Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Research has shown that groups tend to be less cooperative in prisoner's dilemma games compared to individuals. One hypothesis to explain this effect stems from groups' natural tendencies to protect themselves from harm and enhance their relative standing. However, an alternative hypothesis is that groups are more rational in game situations. The current study attempted to distinguish between these two hypotheses by testing whether groups score higher than individuals on measures of competitiveness and pro-self (group) behavior, and lower than individuals on measures of prosocial behavior. The study also attempted to assess whether the pro-self tendencies of groups lead them to behave less ethically than individuals. I tested these hypotheses by using decomposed games and ethical dilemma problems. The results showed that groups were less prosocial than individuals and less likely than individuals to make the ethical choice in one of the two ethical dilemmas. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

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Creative Commons License
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