Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Chloe O'Connor 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am a student of the B.Sc. Applied Psychology at IADT, that specialised in the practice path of the course. I am particularly interested in social psychology and completed my research paper on the impact that gratitude and gender have on cooperation. Other areas I have a keen interest in are UX research and design, positive psychology and transpersonal psychology. In the future I plan to expand my knowledge and deepen my interests in these topics.

Project Overview

It has been shown that gratitude can have a positive impact on prosocial behaviours, such as cooperation. But the research looking at gender differences in both gratitude and cooperation have produced mixed results. This project was carried out in the form of an online experiment to further investigate the topics of gender, gratitude and cooperation and add clarity to previous research by determining whether or not gratitude and gender have an impact on cooperation. The online experiment consisted of a survey measuring cooperation that everyone participating had to complete and a gratitude intervention for half of the participants. The data collected from the experiment was statistically analysed and the obtained results were discussed with reference to the previous literature. The implications, strengths and limitations of the study were defined along with suggestions for future research.

Project Description

This project is titled “The Impact of Gratitude and Gender on Cooperation”. The aim of the named project was to investigate the impact the gratitude and gender may have on cooperation. The rationale for the study is that the topic of gender and cooperation has yielded conflicting results when other methods of measurement, such as economic exchange has been used, therefore by changing the type of measurement to a survey there is potential to yield results that are more consistent with the proposed influence of stereotypical gender roles. With regards to gratitude and cooperation the change in measurement may add merit to the effectiveness of gratitude interventions in promoting cooperation as gratitude has been shown to have a positive impact in promoting gift giving and economic exchange. This study employed a quantitative online experimental design. All participants completed a survey that measured cooperation and half of those participants prior to the survey engaged in a brief 5-minute gratitude intervention. The task of the gratitude intervention was to think about someone the participants were grateful for. The data of 143 participants with the average age of 22 years, 64% of whom identified as female, was used for statistical analyses.

Project Findings

The results from the gathered data suggested that neither gender nor gratitude have an impact on cooperation. For the topic of cooperation and gratitude this result contradicts the previous findings of other research (Balconi et al., 2019; DeSteno et al., 2010; Kate & DeSteno, 2020) that found gratitude to promote cooperation . As for the topic of gender and cooperation, this result contradicts the proposed influence of stereotypical gender roles but coincides with the findings of other research on the topic (Dickens, 2017; Watkins et al.,2003), which found that gender does not have an impact on cooperation. These findings may be used as diving board into future research in both the topics of gender and cooperation and gratitude and cooperation especially in terms of further investigating the employment of a different method of measuring cooperation.