Strategic and social pre-play communication in the ultimatum game

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19 Scopus citations


Pre-play face-to-face communication is known to facilitate cooperation. Various explanations exist for this effect, varying in their dependence on the strategic content of the communication. Previous studies have found similar communication effects regardless of whether strategic communication is available. These results were so far taken to support a social-preferences based explanation of the communication effects. The current experiment provides a replication and extension of previous results to show that different processes come into play, depending on the communication protocol. Specifically, pre-play communication in an ultimatum game was either restricted to non-game-related content or unrestricted. The results show that strategic, but not social, communication affects responders' strategies. Thus, the existing results are cast in a new light. I conclude that pre-play communication effects may be mediated by qualitatively different processes, depending on the social context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-434
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Economic Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2012


  • Bargaining
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Pre-play communication
  • Social preferences
  • Ultimatum game
  • Video experiment social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics


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