Within-Individual Associations Among Third-Party Intervention Strategies: Third-Party Helpers, But Not Punishers, Reward Generosity

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Third parties intervene in others’ behaviors in various ways, such as punishing a harmdoer and/or helping a victim. Moreover, third parties may reward generous altruists. As such, various types of third-party intervention strategies are conceivable. Nevertheless, researchers have disproportionately focused on third-party punishment. In the present study, 87 undergraduate students were exposed to unfair, fair, and generous allocators and their recipients, and were allowed to punish, help, and/or reward the players. The results indicated that participants were more likely to punish unfair allocators than fair allocators; more likely to help recipients of unfair allocators than those of fair allocators; and more likely to reward generous allocators than fair allocators. Examinations of intraindividual associations of these strategies revealed that 2 prosocial strategies (third-party help and third-party reward) were strongly tied to each other (i.e., participants who helped victims of unfair allocators were more likely to reward generous allocators). However, third-party punishment was not significantly associated with the other 2 strategies. The emotional correlates of the 3 intervention strategies were also investigated. Third-party punishment was correlated with moral outrage and reduced empathic concern for unfair allocators. Third-party help was correlated with empathic concern for the victim. Third-party reward was correlated with empathic concern for generous allocators.

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