Sharing-rule and detection of free-riders in cooperative groups: Evolutionarily important deontic reasoning in the Wason Selection task

Kai Hiraishi, Toshikazu Hasegawa

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Taking a Darwinian approach, we propose that people reason to detect free-riders on the Wason Selection task with the sharing-rule; If one receives the resource, one is an in-group member (standard), or If one is an in-group member, one receives the resource (switched). As predicted, taking the resource-provider's perspective, both undergraduates and children (11 to 12 years old) checked for the existence of out-group members taking undeserved resource. Changing the perspective to that of the resource-recipient did not alter the selection pattern in undergraduates, although the prediction was that another type of free-riding—failure to share by resource-provider—would be checked as well. However, by removing confounding factors in the materials, both undergraduates and children checked for both types of free-riding, which fully supports the prediction. These results indicate that the sharing-rule elicits a thematic content effect that cannot be explained by preceding deontic reasoning theories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-294
Number of pages40
JournalThinking and Reasoning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Aug


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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