Relationships between psychological needs and cooperative/competitive behavior displayed in 2x2 matrix games



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



INTRODUCTION Cooperation and competition are typical of the behaviors found in the interactive processes that occur between people. The nature of these behaviors, and their cause and effect, have been the subject of many studies. Some researchers believe that cooperation and competition are situationally sensitive behaviors, that the individual uses both with equal facility upon demand. Others have seen these behaviors as the manifestation of personality types. Both schools of thought have been explored and the arguments for both are presented in the literature review. The conclusion is drawn that the overt cooperative and competitive behaviors are a combination of the two. There is a personality effect or motive which establishes a propensity for one type of behavior. However, situational factors can modify the actual behavior, at times dramatically. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The research had as its goal the correlation of a personality structure to certain behavioral intentions associated with cooperation and competition. Three such intentions were defined in terms of the situational outcomet maximizing one's own gain (0); maximizing the difference between self and other (R)। and minimizing the difference between self and other (J). Since behavioral intentions and overt behavior were not considered to be the same, an instrument was designed which permitted the individual to state an intention without subjecting him to the stress of implementing that intention in an environment which was not receptive. By limiting the situational factors, the personality was more closely related to intention. PROCEDURE Two approaches to personality structure were implemented. One employed the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) which was scored for the needs for achievement, affiliation and power. From their definitions, it was hypothesized that the following one-to-one correlation between the behavioral intentions and the three needs would be indicatedi n Ach to 0, n Aff to J, and n Pwr to R. The other personality instrument was an objective test which measured the strength of fifteen personality characteristics. No hypotheses were made concerning the relationship between these characteristics and the three behavioral intentions. The research subjects were the Senior class of a suburban Houston, Texas, high school. A battery of tests was administered including a behavioral intentions (motivation) instrument, and the two instruments that explored personality structure (motive). The motivation instrument had been tested earlier in two pilot studies, one using ninth-grade students, the other using twelfth graders. FINDINGS The hypothesis that one-to-one relationships would exist between the behavioral intentions and the psychological needs was not confirmed. However, a significant result was found when a Multivariate Analysis of Variance was performed on the fifteen personality characteristics using groups established by the motivational instrument based on the 0, J and R responses. CONCLUSIONS The data obtained from the research subjects, coupled with that obtained from younger subjects in the earlier pilot analysis suggests an alternate hypothesis to the one-to-one relationships. The data indicates the presence of two personality types, R/0 and J, Both types could be following a developmental stage sequence. If so, the R/0 individuals might use an R mode in the egocentrical stages, be undecided during the transition from ego-centered to outward orientation, then possibly switch to an 0 response upon reaching the latter stages of development. The J individual might be undecided in the egocentric stages, or might use R, The J response should become viable during the transition stage and beyond.