This study reports experimental results on the effects of cognitive load on cooperative behavior. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two conditions, high cognitive load or low cognitive load. Visual, audible, and internal extrinsic cognitive load varied between conditions. The participants participated in an extended ultimatum game designed to measure positive, neutral, and negative cooperation in a distance education setting.
Results reveal that cognitive load decreases negative, or retaliatory, cooperation. Further, an interaction effect is discovered where cognitive load changes the behavior of those who would have cooperated, but not those who would have failed to cooperate. Results are highly significant.
This report ends with a brief description of similar findings in the literature, and then places the study in a larger program of research.
The Wary Student, a tdaxp research project
2. Cognitive Load
3. Cooperative Behavior
5. The Experiments
7. Main-Effect Results
8. Interaction-Effect Results
10. Future Research