We employ a repeated investment (trust) game to experiment Simple Anger and Anger from Blaming Behavior treatments from Battigalli et. al., 2019. The trust game, first introduced by Berg et. al., 1995, is a two-player strategic game in which subjects are anonymously matched with each other and are randomly assigned to the role of ”investor” or the ”trustee”. The investor receives an initial endowment and chooses how much of it, if any, to ”invest” (double the amount while transferring) to the trustee. Then, the trustee decides how much of the received amount, if any, to give back to the investor. We find the trust game suitable for this experiment's purposes because of its simplicity and dynamic characteristics, as well as the possibility of initiation and/or reinforcement of anger due to low cooperation among counterpart subjects. As we are interested in the evolution of anger over time and the dynamic aspects of anger in a controlled experimental setting, we employed a repeated version of the standard trust game. Following the literature, to avoid endgame effects (a player ”coaxing" for higher returns in the starting rounds, and taking everything in the finishing round), we also employed a random termination rule. For the ”Anger from Blaming Behavior" (first) section, subjects are randomly matched in groups of two, and play the trust game for 3 to 5 rounds. That is, after the third round a digital coin is flipped to determine whether the players will play a fourth round, and after that round another digital coin will be flipped to determine whether the players will play a fifth round. We expect that repetitive low degrees of cooperation arise feelings of anger. Any two players that are matched initially, will play with each other and remain in their roles (investor or trustee) until the end of the Anger from Blaming Behavior (first) section.
After the Anger from Blaming Behavior (first) section, each player is rematched with another counterpart, yet every player remains in the same role (trustee or investor) that they were initially assigned until the end. The Simple Anger (second) section consists of another 3 to 5 rounds of the trust game (same methodology as the first section) where participants are rematched with a different person. It's expected that anger resulting from low cooperation in the first section spills into the second section, therefore the second section represents Simple Anger (i.e., anger towards others generally).
To test the time-dependent theory of anger, we create three treatments in which trustees are exogenously assigned to a waiting before responding to an offer condition. In the baseline group, the mandatory waiting time is 10 seconds; Treatment 1 and Treatment two have waiting times of 4 and 8 minutes respectively. It's expected that reciprocity will increase as the waiting time increases (i.e., higher amounts returned to player 1 with longer waiting times), since a shorter time delay would produce less anger than the control, but more anger than the longer time delay to measure the cooling down of anger.
Subjects are unable to skip the waiting time in their randomly assigned condition, and they will only be able to enter the desired "send back" amount after the waiting time is up. During the waiting time, subjects are asked to do a Real Effort Task (RET): random numbers in green or red appear on the screen, and subjects are asked to press the '1' key if the number is in green, and not press anything if the number is red. The RET is incentivized with 1 token per every "correct" keystroke. Also, contrary to some previous studies (Grimm and Mengel, 2011), we made the waiting time mandatory. Unless the waiting time is made mandatory, the critique of selection bias may be raised as entering the cooling off treatment was optional (and not mandated by the experimenters). To make the cumulative waiting time equal among all subjects, subjects with shorter waiting groups have to perform the RET after finishing the trust games. Furthermore, to elicit the degree of anger resulted from lack of cooperation, we employ choice-process data measures of Galvanic Skin Response and face-reading software, as well as self-reported emotions on the negative schedule of the PANAS scale, both available at Human Behavior Lab, Texas A&M University.
Battigalli, P., Dufwenberg, M., & Smith, A. (2019). Frustration, aggression, and anger in leader-follower games. Games and Economic Behavior, 117, 15–39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geb.2019.06.001
Berg, J., Dickhaut, J., & McCabe, K. (1995). Trust, reciprocity, and social history. Games and Economic Behavior, 10 (1), 122–142
Grimm, V. & Mengel, F.. (2011). Let me sleep on it: Delay reduces rejection rates in Ultimatum Games. Economics Letters 111(017)