The framing of games and the psychology of play

Martin Dufwenberg, Simon Gächter, Heike Hennig-Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

260 Scopus citations


Psychological game theory can provide rational-choice-based framing effects; frames influence beliefs, beliefs influence motivations. We explain this theoretically and explore empirical relevance experimentally. In a 2×2 design of one-shot public good games we show that frames affect subject's first- and second-order beliefs and contributions. From a psychological game-theoretic framework we derive two mutually compatible hypotheses about guilt aversion and reciprocity under which contributions are related to second- and first-order beliefs, respectively. Our results are consistent with either.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-478
Number of pages20
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Framing
  • Guilt aversion
  • Psychological game theory
  • Public good games
  • Reciprocity
  • Voluntary cooperation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'The framing of games and the psychology of play'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this