Previous research mainly investigated the influence of social preferences on choices and largely ignored the underlying processes. Findings by Liebrand and McClintock (1988), however, suggest that individualist’s process information regarding payoffs faster than cooperators. In a set of eye-tracking studies we show that differences in social preferences are accompanied by consistent differences in information search and processing (i.e., number of fixations, transitions and proportion of attention) in a wide set of social dilemma situations. To investigate this relationship further the temporal dynamics of the underlying cognitive processes were analyzed and showed distinct patterns of information acquisition for different social preference types over the course of decision making. Eye-tracking proved to be a great tool to investigate information weights for particular outcomes and motives during the decision making process. This line of research informs recent process models how to model decisions making and thereby bridges the gap between economic models and cognitive processes.