ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (12): 1897-1906.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.01897

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The automaticity of social behavior in situations of conflicting interests: Cooperation or self-interest?

LIU Changjiang1,2; ZHANG Yue1; HAO Fang1; LIU Caimeng1; DING Xu1; SHI Yu1   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China) (2 Research Institute of Moral Education, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210097, China)
  • Received:2016-03-07 Online:2016-12-15 Published:2016-12-15
  • Contact: HAO Fang, E-mail:


Cooperation and self-interest are individuals’ basic behavioral patterns in situations of conflicting interests. Within the rationality framework of economics, selfish behavior is viewed as human being’s instinct reaction. However, recent opinions claim that cooperation is an automatic reaction by nature. Theories and researches on unconsciousness, cognitive capacity, and ego depletion, as well as evidences from neurosciences studies, have verified that complicated social behaviors such as cooperation can be automatically activated. Future studies should further demonstrate whether self-interest or cooperation is automatic, and reveal psychological mechanisms of automaticity of social cooperation and its conditions.

Key words: social cooperation, conflicting interests, unconsciousness, cognitive capacity, self-regulation