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TÜBİTAK Projects

  • Is Intuitive Cooperation Possible Under Threats of Earthquake, Terror, and Scarcity? (TÜBİTAK 1001, 2024-27)

The perennial question of whether individuals lean more towards selfishness or cooperation has been a subject of empirical scrutiny in recent years. The renowned "Social Heuristics Hypothesis" suggests an inherent inclination toward cooperation, while the "Self-Control Hypothesis" contends that selfish impulses dominate initially, requiring cognitive effort to foster cooperation. However, the importance of contextual factors such as environmental threats and group identity in influencing cooperation tendencies is overlooked. The project aims to explore how cognitive processes interact with these factors to influence cooperation, employing manipulations to test analytical and intuitive thinking.

  • Longitudinal Test of the Relationship between Moral Judgements and Moral Behavior (TÜBİTAK 3005, 2023-25)

Psychological research has over-relied on intentional measurements to make inferences about human prosociality. Similarly, the previous research in the domain of the psychology of morality primarily used intention measurements. Several studies have recently used behavioral and intention measurements and demonstrated an intention-behavior gap in morality studies. The apparent intention-behavior gap imposes the necessity to examine the relationship between the dominant theories (e.g., Morality as Cooperation and Moral Foundations Theory), which claim to measure moral judgments, and behavioral measurements as defined in game theory. To overcome this problem, we will measure the relationships between moral foundations and moral behaviors in this project. Furthermore, we will examine the possible moderating role of scarcity in these relationships. Lastly, we will compare the two theories to investigate which theory has a better explanatory power for predicting moral behaviors.

  • How to Increase Social Cooperation against the Threat of Earthquakes? (TÜBİTAK 1001, 2021-24)

The literature presents several conflicting theoretical approaches regarding the impact of exposure to an earthquake threat on social behavior. The majority of findings rely on measures of intentions and self-reported attitudes obtained through correlational or quasi-experimental methods, which do not enable the establishment of cause-effect relationships. To address this, our project will conduct eight separate studies to systematically and experimentally test predictions based on the Issue Ownership Model concerning the effect of earthquake threat on human social behavior.

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  • How to Promote Cooperation under Resource Scarcity? The Moderating Role of Intuitive/Analytical Thinking (TÜBİTAK 3501, 2021-24)

One of the perennial questions of whether people are more innately selfish or cooperative has been empirically studied in recent years, thanks to the development of experimental methods. In this context, the well-known "Social Heuristics Hypothesis" suggests that people are intuitively inclined to cooperate. Conversely, the "Self-Control Hypothesis" posits that people's intuitive behavior is selfish, and that cognitive effort is required to override these impulses in favor of cooperation. This project, poised to contribute to the behavioral sciences, introduces resource scarcity as a moderating variable that may reconcile these two differing theoretical approaches. Within the scope of the project, our first objective is to develop a new method for reliably activating the psychological salience of resource scarcity. Secondly, the project aims to identify the boundary conditions for these two-opposing dual-process theories regarding cooperation.

  • How to Promote Compliance with Preventive Measures: The effects of self-interested and prosocial messages (TÜBİTAK 1001, 2020-21)

This project investigated the social psychological underpinnings of attitude change and persuasion processes, focusing on the content, source, and recipient of the message. Additionally, it tested the theoretical predictions of two commonly used assumptions in behavioral sciences, specifically whether people are primarily motivated by selfish or moral considerations. To achieve this, we examined compliance with preventive measures in the context of COVID-19, both in terms of self-reported behavioral intentions and actual behaviors. Concurrently, we conducted a longitudinal exploration of the social and psychological characteristics of message recipients (e.g., risk perceptions) to assess whether these factors moderate the effectiveness of the messages.

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