Thanks to the social media I have lately had the chance to communicate with one of the authors (Assoc. Serhat Koloğlugil) of the article that is under review in my blog piece today. The title of article is “Is ingroup favoritism contingent on the expectation of reciprocity from ingroup members?: The case of reputation manipulation”. Maybe it is hard to understand from the title but the article brings psychology together with economics. It is interesting for both social psychologists and economists and political scientists like me as well.



The article and the issue under scrutiny are quite interesting for a number of reasons although when it is analyzed from a political science perspective:


-It can have insightful words to say about the political culture through which the people are connected with through dealing with concepts like “ingroup favoritism”.


-Henri Tajfel’s “social identity theory” as a theoretical framework is very important in political science too.


-The Game Theory along with Prisoner’s Dilemma play important roles in Political Science studies as well.



Here are some key terminological concepts mentioned in the article titled “Is ingroup favoritism contingent on the expectation of reciprocity from ingroup members?: The case of reputation manipulation” authored by Serhat Koloğlugil and Burcu Tekeş:


Social Identity Theory: “According to the social identity hypothesis, an individual’s social identity is part of her self-perception, and by treating ingroup members more favorably than outgroup members…” (Tajfel 1981, 1982)


Reciprocity: The reciprocity hypothesis, argues that individuals exhibit ingroup favoritism only when they see their relation to ingroup members as a mutual dependence or exchange relation.


Prisoner’s Dilemma: The prisoner’s dilemma is one of the most well-known concepts in modern game theory. A prisoners’ dilemma refers to a type of economic game in which the Nash equilibrium is such that both players are worse off even though they both select their optimal strategies.


Dictator Game Theory: The Dictator Game is an economic game that is designed to question the standard economic assumption that individuals will act solely out of self-interest.


Method and Results


The method of the study is solely quantitative. Participants were 144 students from Işık University who received course credit and monetary rewards for participation. The experimental design consisted of three conditions (control, low-reputation and high-reputation), in each of which participants played two games: one with an ingroup partner and one with an outgroup partner. So, during the experiment participants played a total of six games, and each game was played with a different ingroup or outgroup partner who was randomly selected from other participants.


To summarize the main findings of the study, when there was no information available except group identity (control condition), participants’ expected and contributed amounts were solely determined in reference to partner’s group membership. But when reputation manipulation was introduced, results became a bit more complicated. Mainly the participants expected more cooperation from ingroup partners than outgroup partners, and from partners with high cooperative reputation. And as in line with these expectations, they cooperated more with ingroup members and with partners having high reputation.


The study has important outcomes. For example, given the research question whether ingroup favoritism can be explained by the expectation of reciprocity alone, the authors compared in their analysis the ingroup and outgroup games within each reputation condition. And the results of this analysis suggest that the dynamics of intergroup cooperation cannot be reduced to social identity or reciprocity alone.

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