Cover: Personality, Affects, and Forgiving Behavior in Games

Personality, Affects, and Forgiving Behavior in Games

Published Aug 2, 2012

by Jui-Chung Allen Li, Yeh-Chen Chen

Download eBook for Free

FormatFile SizeNotes
PDF file 0.4 MB

Use Adobe Acrobat Reader version 10 or higher for the best experience.

This study asks two research questions: who forgives, and how? Prior studies have shown that more agreeable and less neurotic people have a higher tendency to forgive others, but this study argues that these associations may be spurious because these studies measure forgiveness as a disposition using self-reported questionnaires. This study shows how to combine two economic games to construct a behavioral measure of forgiveness. In the first game, the participants are unfairly mistreated; in the second game, it gives the participants an opportunity to either reciprocate the injustice, or to forgive. Based on a sample of 468 students in Grades 5, 7, and 11, the results show that agreeableness, but not neuroticism (nor extraversion, conscientiousness, openness), predicts forgiving behavior in games. While it is widely believed that forgiveness has an emotional component, affects only mediate the justice evaluation of an offer in the first game. Thus, it concludes that whether a participant forgives or not in the second game involves a cognitive decision.

This paper series was made possible by the NIA funded RAND Center for the Study of Aging and the NICHD funded RAND Population Research Center.

This report is part of the RAND working paper series. RAND working papers are intended to share researchers' latest findings and to solicit informal peer review. They have been approved for circulation by RAND but may not have been formally edited or peer reviewed.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.