Effects of representational role obligations on the process of children's distribution of resources

Daniel Druckman, Daniel Solomon, Kathleen Zechmeister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of a representative's role obligations on attempts to reach a decision by two children on a distribution of resources ("chips") between them was examined in two experiments. Subjects played a game in which they alternated distribution suggestions until they agreed on a distribution. In the first experiment, contestants (male subjects) who were delegated to represent a teammate took longer to reach a decision, rejected more of their opponent's offers, moved more "chips" toward themselves and were more equally "competitive" than non representatives. While role obligations did not affect verbal statements made following each offer, a communication set manipulation did, with "justifiers" making more self-centered statements and fewer value statements than "persuaders." The second experiment was designed to separate audience-presence and anticipation of splitting "winnings" with one's teammate from role obligations. The representation main effect obtained in the first study was replicated on some of the indices for male subjects. Neither audience presence nor splitting of winnings affected males' negotiating behavior. Females, on the other hand, were not responsive to role obligations but instead responded to the presence of an audience. These results were interpreted in terms of sex differences in social responsiveness
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-410
Number of pages24
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1972
Externally publishedYes


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