PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis study proposes the intrinsic benefit model of the signaling theory for sociology. The signaling theory is a subtheory of the game theory. It was developed independently within Evolutionary Biology and Economics, and it is concerned with the communications under the situations with asymmetrical information. Although the signaling theory have been widely adapted across social science, its influence within Sociology has been limited so far. This study proposes the argument that the signaling theory can achieve the increased relevance within Sociology by focusing on the role of (perceived) intrinsic benefit obtained from the signal production. The focus on the intrinsic benefit would allow the signaling theory to be applied on the broader range of phenomena which are of sociological interests, while at the same time analytically integrating additional social and symbolic contexts of the signals. Based on this argument, the propositions were developed about the role of the signal visibility and the intentionality of the signal. The three experiments were conducted to test the propositions. The two vignette experiments were conducted to test the effect of signal visibility on the signaling of environmental commitment through the purchases of electronic vehicles. A laboratory experiments was conducted to test the effect of the intentionality of the signal on the signaling of trustworthiness through donations. The first experiment gave the strong support to the propositions, whereas the second and the third experiment produced the mixed results. The author suggests that the overall findings are consistent with the main argument underlying the intrinsic benefit model.
Degree ProgramGraduate College