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The source of punishment matters: Third-party punishment restrains observers from selfish behaviors better than does second-party punishment by shaping norm perceptions.
PLoS One. 2020; 15(3):e0229510.Plos

Abstract

Punishment aims to deter individuals' selfish behaviors, but it can occasionally backfire. Some scholars have proposed promoting prosocial behaviors using punishment that communicates positive social norms because it provides additional motivation. However, it is unclear which factors affect the norm expressive function of punishment. This study proposes that third-party punishment communicates more positive normative information, and thus, promotes more prosocial behavior in observers than does second-party punishment. Using dictator games, we investigated the effects of second-party punishment compared to third-party punishment of another's unfair sharing on observers' norm perceptions and subsequent sharing decision-making. Two experiments consistently found that third-party punishment was more effective than second-party punishment at inducing observers' beliefs that unfair distribution was unusual (descriptive norm) and unacceptable (injunctive norm). The altered descriptive but not injunctive norm perception further guided individuals' own sharing behaviors. Taken together, these results suggest that third-party punishment might be better than second-party punishment at decreasing selfish behaviors by shaping individuals' norm perceptions, especially descriptive norm perception, regarding the relevant behaviors.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.Student Affairs Departments, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Hangzhou, China.Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32119702

Citation

Chen, Hezhi, et al. "The Source of Punishment Matters: Third-party Punishment Restrains Observers From Selfish Behaviors Better Than Does Second-party Punishment By Shaping Norm Perceptions." PloS One, vol. 15, no. 3, 2020, pp. e0229510.
Chen H, Zeng Z, Ma J. The source of punishment matters: Third-party punishment restrains observers from selfish behaviors better than does second-party punishment by shaping norm perceptions. PLoS One. 2020;15(3):e0229510.
Chen, H., Zeng, Z., & Ma, J. (2020). The source of punishment matters: Third-party punishment restrains observers from selfish behaviors better than does second-party punishment by shaping norm perceptions. PloS One, 15(3), e0229510. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0229510
Chen H, Zeng Z, Ma J. The Source of Punishment Matters: Third-party Punishment Restrains Observers From Selfish Behaviors Better Than Does Second-party Punishment By Shaping Norm Perceptions. PLoS One. 2020;15(3):e0229510. PubMed PMID: 32119702.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - The source of punishment matters: Third-party punishment restrains observers from selfish behaviors better than does second-party punishment by shaping norm perceptions. AU - Chen,Hezhi, AU - Zeng,Zhijia, AU - Ma,Jianhong, Y1 - 2020/03/02/ PY - 2019/09/19/received PY - 2020/02/09/accepted PY - 2020/3/3/entrez PY - 2020/3/3/pubmed PY - 2020/6/24/medline SP - e0229510 EP - e0229510 JF - PloS one JO - PLoS One VL - 15 IS - 3 N2 - Punishment aims to deter individuals' selfish behaviors, but it can occasionally backfire. Some scholars have proposed promoting prosocial behaviors using punishment that communicates positive social norms because it provides additional motivation. However, it is unclear which factors affect the norm expressive function of punishment. This study proposes that third-party punishment communicates more positive normative information, and thus, promotes more prosocial behavior in observers than does second-party punishment. Using dictator games, we investigated the effects of second-party punishment compared to third-party punishment of another's unfair sharing on observers' norm perceptions and subsequent sharing decision-making. Two experiments consistently found that third-party punishment was more effective than second-party punishment at inducing observers' beliefs that unfair distribution was unusual (descriptive norm) and unacceptable (injunctive norm). The altered descriptive but not injunctive norm perception further guided individuals' own sharing behaviors. Taken together, these results suggest that third-party punishment might be better than second-party punishment at decreasing selfish behaviors by shaping individuals' norm perceptions, especially descriptive norm perception, regarding the relevant behaviors. SN - 1932-6203 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32119702/The_source_of_punishment_matters:_Third_party_punishment_restrains_observers_from_selfish_behaviors_better_than_does_second_party_punishment_by_shaping_norm_perceptions_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -