Persons, Organizations, and Societies: The Effects of Collectivism and Individualism on Cooperation
In 1984, as an undergraduate in social psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara, I (the first author) stepped into Dave Messick’s research lab. It was a step that began a long, fruitful, and continuing education with a marvelous man and mentor. Graduate students working in his lab at the time included Charlie Samuelson and Scott Allison (see Chapters 2 and 12 of this volume), who were heavily involved in Dave’s social dilemma research, which he had begun in collaboration with Marilynn Brewer and Rod Kramer (who had departed for UCLA by that time, but who continued to be important research colleagues — Rod coedited this volume and contributed Chapter 6). During this time, others visited this lab, including Wim Liebrand, a social psychologist from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and his student at the time, Paul Van Lange (see Chapter 4), who also participated in social dilemma and social value research with Dave and Chuck McClintock. The excellent repartee, critical thinking, and complete joy in doing research in that lab convinced me that UCSB was the place to stay and pursue my graduate studies. Although my own research interests tended toward judgment and decision-making as regards understanding the effects of foregone
alternatives on outcome evaluation (Boles & Messick 1995), I never forgot my early immersion in the social dilemma research group. Thus, I am pleased to have the opportunity to present in the chapter that follows how Dave Messick’s replenishable resource paradigm was employed in a study that examined the effects of collectivism and individualism (personal, organizational, and societal) on cooperation. This work was done in collaboration with Huy Le, formerly a Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa and now on the faculty at the University of Central Florida, and Hannah-Hanh D. Nguyen, formerly a Ph.D. student at Michigan State and now on the faculty at California State University, Long Beach. As such, Dave’s social dilemma work continues to influence another generation of researchers.