Personality accounts for stable preferences and expectations across a range of simple games

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Behaviour on even simple experimental games shows considerable individual differences, but previous attempts to link these preferences to stable personality traits have had mixed results. Here we address three limitations of earlier studies, namely: (1) uncertainties concerning the reliability of preferences; (2) use of personality instruments with limited cross-study comparability; and (3) confounds where more than one psychological motive can lead to a particular choice. Sixty-seven participants completed 12 distinct real-money games twice over a two-week interval along with 6 measures concerning their expectations about other players' choices. Personality was measured using the full NEO-PI-R. Choices were highly stable across time (r = .84). Moreover, choices on the 12 games and 6 expectations reflected a single underlying dimension of "prosocial orientation", measuring concern for the payoffs received by other players. Scores on the prosocial orientation dimension were related to personality, with openness, (low) neuroticism, and (low) extraversion retained as significant predictors. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-886
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Personality
  • Big Five
  • Social preferences
  • Dictator game
  • Experimental economics
  • Decision-making
  • Economic psychology


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