ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (1): 1-10.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2015.00001

• Special Column for Decision-making Psychology •     Next Articles

Decision Making in Asymmetric Social Dilemmas: A Dual Mode of Action

LIU Changjiang1,2; HAO Fang1   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China) (2 Research Institute of Moral Education, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China)
  • Received:2013-06-28 Online:2015-01-15 Published:2015-01-15
  • Contact: LIU Changjiang, E-mail:


Interdependence structure and asymmetric relation in social dilemmas come together to cultivate two different but stable modes of social perception. Consequently, individuals behave in two different ways: a vertical mode of action oriented to strength and hierarchy, and a horizontal mode oriented to morality and harmony. When facing asymmetric social dilemmas, those who are relatively strong in their social position are inclined to behave in a vertical mode and thus decide to defect; while those who are relatively weak tend to act in a horizontal mode and thus decide to cooperate. However, individuals’ motives strongly moderate the relationship between asymmetric social structure and decision making in social dilemmas. This view explains well the experimental research done by the authors; however it still needs further development and additional tests.

Key words: decision-making, social dilemmas, asymmetry, mode of action, cooperation