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Title: Are there nonverbal cues to commitment? An exploratory study using the zero-acquaintance video presentation paradigm
Authors: Brown, WM
Keywords: Altruist-Detection;Cheater-Detection;Emotions;Nonverbal Behaviour;Reliable Signalling;Smile Asymmetries;Facial Expressions;Cooperation
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: Institute for Evolutionary Psychology
Citation: Brown, W.M., Palameta, B. & Moore, C. (2003). Are there nonverbal cues to commitment? An exploratory study using the zero-acquaintance video presentation paradigm. Evolutionary Psychology: An International Journal of Evolutionary Approaches to Psychology and Behavior, 1, 42-69
Abstract: Altruism is difficult to explain evolutionarily if subtle cheaters exist in a population (Trivers, 1971). A pathway to the evolutionary maintenance of cooperation is nonverbal altruist-detection. One adaptive advantage of nonverbal altruist-detection is the formation of trustworthy division of labour partnerships (Frank, 1988). Three studies were designed to test a fundamental assumption behind altruistic partner preference models. In the first experiment perceivers (blind with respect to target altruism level) made assessments of video-clips depicting self-reported altruists and self-reported non-altruists. Video-clips were designed with attempts to control for attractiveness, expressiveness, role-playing ability, and verbal content. Overall perceivers rated altruists as more “helpful” than non-altruists. In a second experiment manipulating the payoffs for cooperation, perceivers (blind with respect to payoff condition and altruism level) assessed altruists who were helping others as more “concerned” and “attentive” than non-altruists. However perceivers assessed the same altruists as less “concerned” and “attentive” than non-altruists when the payoffs were for self. This finding suggests that perceivers are sensitive to nonverbal indicators of selfishness. Indeed the self-reported non-altruists were more likely than self-reported altruists to retain resources for themselves in an objective measure of cooperative tendencies (i.e. a dictator game). In a third study altruists and non-altruists’ facial expressions were analyzed. The smile emerged as a consistent cue to altruism. In addition, altruists exhibited more expressions that are under involuntary control (e.g., orbicularis oculi) compared to non-altruists. Findings Are there nonverbal cues to commitment? suggest that likelihood to cooperate is signaled nonverbally and the putative cues may be under involuntary control as predicted by Frank (1988).
ISSN: 1474-7049
Appears in Collections:Psychology
Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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