Toward an understanding of the endogenous nature of group identification in games

John Smith, Katerina Bezrukova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is commonly assumed that identification with a social group is constant throughout the play of a one-shot game in the absence of feedback. Our experiment provides evidence that challenges this assumption. Subjects play one of two versions of the prisoner's dilemma game. These versions are distinguished by the relative attractiveness of the uncooperative action. The version with a relatively attractive uncooperative action is referred to as the Easy Game and the other as the Difficult Game. Subjects who play the Difficult Game, exhibit a change in group identification which is related to their selected action. No such relationship exists within the Easy Game. Additionally, the change primarily occurs after the action is selected rather than upon inspection of the game.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-212
Number of pages9
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Decision difficulty
  • Endogenous preferences
  • Experimental game theory
  • Group identification
  • Social identity


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