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The Role of Shoulds in Self-Other Differences in Decision Making

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The Role of Shoulds in Self-Other Differences in Decision Making
Smout, Ryan
When deciding for others, people often make different decisions than when deciding for themselves in the same situation (Atanasov, Smout, & Stone, 2019). Although a number of theories seek to explain these differences, none has explored whether they arise from beliefs about what people should do. This paper investigates whether such beliefs, which we term shoulds, account for self-other differences in decision making through two possible avenues: mediation, in which self-other differences in shoulds cause self-other differences in decisions, or moderation, in which the target of a decision (self or other) moderates the relationship between shoulds and decisions. Participants made decisions and reported shoulds either for self or other in relationship and physical health scenarios. Results replicated previous research that decisions for others are more risk-seeking in relationship scenarios but more risk-averse in health scenarios. We also found that shoulds differ for self and other in relationship scenarios, fully mediating the relationship between self-other and decisions. However, shoulds failed to explain self-other differences in health scenarios. We found no evidence of moderation effects, suggesting that shoulds and decisions are equally connected for self and other in both domains. We discuss how these results relate to prevailing theories in the literature.
decision making for others
moral hypocrisy
surrogate decisions
Stone, Eric R (committee chair)
Seta, Catherine E (committee member)
Atanasov, Pavel D (committee member)
Masicampo, Emer J (committee member)
2019-05-24T08:35:50Z (accessioned)
2019-05-24T08:35:50Z (available)
2019 (issued)
Psychology (discipline)
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/93981 (uri)
en (iso)
Wake Forest University

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