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Luke Sage and Maria Kavussanu

In this experiment we examined the effects of task and ego involvement on three measures of moral behavior—prosocial choice, observed prosocial behavior, and observed antisocial behavior—in a competitive setting. We also investigated sex differences in moral behavior. Male (n = 48) and female (n = 48) college students were randomly assigned to a task-involving, an ego-involving, or a control condition. Participants played two 10-min games of table soccer and completed measures of prosocial choice, goal involvement, goal orientation, and demographics. The two games were recorded, and frequencies of prosocial and antisocial behavior were coded. Players assigned to the task-involving condition were higher in prosocial choice than those in the ego-involving or control conditions. Individuals in the ego-involving condition displayed more antisocial behaviors than those in the task-involving or control conditions. Finally, females displayed more prosocial behaviors than males.