I figured this out after doing an activity in a personality styles class where I got people into groups of 10 and handed out a bag with 8 mini candy bars. I told them that the store didn’t have enough so that they’ll need to figure out how to divide them up.
It was fascinating to me as I watched class after class do the following: Group A (the group that was more people-focused in their preferences) would often try to solve this problem by first trying to figure out if anyone cannot eat candy (medical reasons or diet); then when a few dropped out that way, the others would often dither about and defer to others before they would take their own. I observed this type of personality continually considering individual circumstances in their quest for fairly dividing up the candy.
Group B, on the other hand (and these were the people that identified more as task-focused individuals), almost always used math or some really black and white tool to equally divide up the candy. There was no discussion about individual preferences, individual circumstances – they just figured everyone got the same side sliver as everyone else. End of story. It was amazing to watch.
I definitely fit into Group B here. I think of the candy as an endowment, and they should be allowed to exchange their piece for goodwill or money or whatever it is they want, even if they don’t want to eat the candy themselves. I’m not sure you get the same goodwill for saying in advance that you can’t have the candy because you’re diabetic as you do for giving someone else your piece.
Plus I’m not scared of doing things like figuring out how much 8/10 is (though cutting into fifths is a PITA). All we need to make sure we have is a good clean knife and something to cut on. I figure chocolate probably isn’t worth doing the extended fair division problem with. (The one where one person cuts and the other person chooses the piece. Actually, I think the process might be that 9 of the people make cuts, then the 1oth person chooses, then the 9th, and so on until the last person gets the dregs. But that still sounds like too much hassle.)
Of course, it is possible that the person who drops the number from 9 to 8 gets everyone’s gratitude for not actually having to do the math or the cutting, even if the person who brings the number down from 10 to 9 isn’t worth much.
#2 notes: I guess it would depend on context. Are these people strangers? [So cultural expectations regarding first meetings are important!] Are they going to have to work together again? [So this is a repeated game!]
#1 agrees: I just assumed it was a class that was going to meet all semester. And maybe you don’t want to be the person who pretends not to like chocolate when you really do because then you’re going to be a doormat the rest of the semester. People take advantage of easy-going folks. Better to show you’re giving a sacrifice, or a one-time sacrifice.
So, which type are you?