I’ll just watch: Do the pro-social effects of coordination really generalize to non-actors?

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Abstract

Moving in time together has been shown to cultivate pro-social effects in co-actors, such as cooperation and helping. But less is known about who these effects apply to–whether they are restricted only to co-actors, or whether they generalize to those not involved in the coordination. One difference between past work finding generalized vs. restricted effects is whether these “outsiders” were present for the coordination or not. The present study explores whether the pro-social effects of coordination are seen towards observers as well as co-actors, and whether the absence or presence of observers during the coordination is a determining factor. Results show that greater cooperation following coordination is only seen amongst co- actors, regardless of whether the observers were present during the task or not. Findings are discussed in the context of the literature and alternative explanations for research showing generalized effects are suggested.

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Cross, L., Wilson, A. D., & Golonka, S. (2020). I’ll just watch: Do the pro-social effects of coordination really generalize to non-actors? Journal of Social Psychology, 160(2), 248–262. https://doi.org/10.1080/00224545.2019.1623161

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