Date Thesis Awarded

5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Connie Pilkington

Committee Members

Connie Pilkington

Joanna Schug

Lisa Anderson

Abstract

Cooperation has been seen as a key contributor to forming close relationships. Loneliness and perceived risk in intimacy have been associated with having fewer close interpersonal bonds. The type of interaction (communal or exchange) also plays a role in how people will behave, and how open they will be in pursuing a close relationship. The authors used a manipulation of the type of relation a participant would have with a confederate in a Prisoner’s Dilemma game, and measured perceived risk in intimacy and loneliness, to evaluate the effects these factors had on cooperative behavior. The authors found that the effects of loneliness on cooperation were marginally dependent on level of risk in intimacy. In addition, the authors found that the effects of perceived risk in intimacy on cooperation were marginally dependent on the relation condition. Implications of the null findings reveal that lonely people’s cooperation may depend on how much risk they perceive in possible intimacy. These findings also imply that lonely people may cooperate more in exchange relationships than in communal relationships. Future studies might explore the two marginal associations, but also measure these three factors against interpersonal trust. Trust may be a more encompassing dependent variable that is equally important in relationship building, and may be complemented by cooperative behavior, among other acts showing signs of trust.

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