Data for: Unpredictable and Competitive Cues Affect Prosocial Behaviors and Judgments

Published: 7 October 2018| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/7z2fjzym9s.1
Lei Chang,
Nan Zhu,
Skyler Hawk


There are three datasets corresponding to three experiments exploring the effects of environmental cues on prosociality. The authors focused on two overarching environmental factors: unpredictability, which represents the variability of extrinsic threats, and competition, which represents the relevance of others' relative performance to one's fitness. Method: In each experiment, participants were exposed to cues of unpredictability and/or competition before assessment of spontaneous prosocial behaviors (Studies 1 and 2) or prosocial judgments in dual-choice dilemmas (Study 3). We also took into account the interaction between the two environmental factors and two moderators, namely resource availability and prosocial thinking types. Main Results: unpredictable cues generally led to lower prosocial behaviors and fewer prosocial judgments (Studies 2 & 3). In contrast, competitive cues led to lower prosocial behaviors among individuals with resource disadvantages (Study 1), and when combined with unpredictable cues (Study 2), but also led to higher prosocial behaviors among individuals with resource advantages (Study 1) and more prosocial judgments in response to rational, utilitarian dilemmas (Study 3). Taken together, these results indicated that human prosociality is affected by environmental factors in predictable ways.



Evolutionary Psychology, Prosocial Behavior