Anna Gunnthorsdottir is an experimental game theorist with an interest in business, political, financial and military strategy, mass phenomena such as market bubbles and social and political trends and contagion, subconscious motives and mechanism design. Her research aims at finding ways to achieve goals and increase efficiency through preparation and planning. Her work is published in the leading journals in the field, and has been awarded the Emerald Literati Prize.
Prof. Gunnthorsdottir holds a BS in Psychology from the University of Iceland and a PhD in Decision Sciences and Economics from the University of Arizona. Prof. Gunnthorsdottir is a Fellow of the University of Iceland's Behavioral Decision Laboratory and the George Mason University Neuroeconomics laboratory. She has trained strategic thought, negotiations, game theory and experimental methods in MBA, executive MBA, masters and PhD courses and executive programs, and for corporate and political leaders, in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, Iceland, Spain and Austria.
Abstract: It is known that norms of cooperation, pro-social values, and well-functioning institutions support economic growth. We experimentally compare pro-social, cooperative behavior in Iceland and the US. The two countries have similar education levels and GDP but differ culturally. An in-depth analysis of the thought processes behind pro-social acts reveals cultural differences: Icelanders tend to cooperate unconditionally as if out of a moral obligation to the community while Americans focus on fairness, and seek to match the cooperation levels of others in their group. Our results indicate that different cultures can achieve similar economic and societal performance through different thought processes and suggest that messages to increase cooperation within or between social units should be tailored to such differences. We speculate that the different approaches to pro-social behavior that we identified reflect each country’s geographic features, social structure, and history.
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