Reciprocity and emotions in bargaining using physiological and self-report measures

Gershon Ben-Shakhar, Gary Bornstein, Astrid Hopfensitz, Frans van Winden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although reciprocity is a key concept in the social sciences, it is still unclear why people engage in costly reciprocation. In this study, physiological and self-report measures were employed to investigate the role of emotions, using the Power-to-Take Game. In this two-person game, player 1 can claim any part of player 2's resources, and player 2 can react by destroying some (or all) of these resources thus preventing their transfer to player 1. Both physiological and self-report measures were related to destruction decisions. The observed pattern of emotional arousal and its correlation with self-reported anger provides support for using both techniques to study reciprocity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-323
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are very thankful to Ori Cohen, Avia Munchik and Alona D. Roded for their excellent research assistance. Further we want to thank Ronald Bosman, Samuel Bowles and two anonymous referees for helpful comments. We are also grateful for comments received from participants at conferences at the Santa Fe Institute, the ESA meeting in Amsterdam, the ISRE meeting in New York and the IMEBE conference in Cordoba. Finally, financial support by the European Union through the TMR research network ENDEAR (FMX-CT98-0238) and by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant 907/01) is gratefully acknowledged.


  • Bargaining
  • Emotions
  • Laboratory experiment
  • Physiological arousal
  • Reciprocity
  • Self-report measures of emotions


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