Enabling or Limiting Cognitive Flexibility? Evidence of Demand for Moral Commitment
AbstractMoral behavior is more prevalent when individuals cannot easily distort their beliefs self-servingly. Do individuals seek to limit or enable their ability to distort beliefs? How do these choices affect behavior? Experiments with over 9,000 participants show preferences are heterogeneous—30 percent of participants prefer to limit belief distortion, while over 40 percent prefer to enable it, even if costly. A random assignment mechanism reveals that being assigned to the preferred environment is necessary for curbing or enabling self-serving behavior. Third parties can anticipate these effects, suggesting some sophistication about the cognitive constraints to belief distortion.
CitationSaccardo, Silvia, and Marta Serra-Garcia. 2023. "Enabling or Limiting Cognitive Flexibility? Evidence of Demand for Moral Commitment." American Economic Review, 113 (2): 396-429. DOI: 10.1257/aer.20201333
- C91 Design of Experiments: Laboratory, Individual
- D82 Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- D83 Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
- D91 Micro-Based Behavioral Economics: Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making