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Brain activity in fairness consideration during asset distribution: does the initial ownership play a role?

Wu Y, Hu J, van Dijk E, Leliveld MC, Zhou X - PLoS ONE (2012)

Bottom Line: Behavioral results showed that participants were more likely to reject disadvantageous unequal and equal offers when they initially owned the property as compared to when they did not.In a late time window, however, the P300 responses to division schemes were affected not only by the type of unequal offers but also by whom the property was initially assigned to.These findings suggest that while the MFN may function as a general mechanism that evaluates whether the offer is consistent or inconsistent with the equity rule, the P300 is sensitive to top-down controlled processes, into which factors related to the allocation of attentional resources, including initial ownership and personal interests, come to play.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Child Development and Learning Science, Ministry of Education, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.

ABSTRACT
Previous behavioral studies have shown that initial ownership influences individuals' fairness consideration and other-regarding behavior. However, it is not entirely clear whether initial ownership influences the brain activity when a recipient evaluates the fairness of asset distribution. In this study, we randomly assigned the bargaining property (monetary reward) to either the allocator or the recipient in the ultimatum game and let participants of the study, acting as recipients, receive either disadvantageous unequal, equal, or advantageous unequal offers from allocators while the event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. Behavioral results showed that participants were more likely to reject disadvantageous unequal and equal offers when they initially owned the property as compared to when they did not. The two types of unequal offers evoked more negative going ERPs (the MFN) than the equal offers in an early time window and the differences were not modulated by the initial ownership. In a late time window, however, the P300 responses to division schemes were affected not only by the type of unequal offers but also by whom the property was initially assigned to. These findings suggest that while the MFN may function as a general mechanism that evaluates whether the offer is consistent or inconsistent with the equity rule, the P300 is sensitive to top-down controlled processes, into which factors related to the allocation of attentional resources, including initial ownership and personal interests, come to play.

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The acceptance rate in the ultimatum game as a function of the offer type.Error bars represent standard errors of the means.
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pone-0039627-g002: The acceptance rate in the ultimatum game as a function of the offer type.Error bars represent standard errors of the means.

Mentions: The acceptance rates for different division schemes are presented in Fig. 2. A 2 (initial ownership: self vs. other) × 3 (offer type: disadvantageous unequal vs. equal vs. advantageous unequal offer) repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of offer type, F(2, 40) = 108.31, p<0.001, indicating that the acceptance rate for disadvantageous unequal offers (0.24±0.05) was lower than for either equal (0.91±0.03) or advantageous unequal offers (0.94±0.03), as confirmed by the post-hoc tests (p<0.001). The differences between the equal and the advantageous unequal offer conditions were not significant (p>0.1). The main effect of initial ownership was also significant, F(1, 20) = 12.24, p<0.01, suggesting that the acceptance rate was higher when the 10 yuan bill was initially aligned with the other’s silhouette (0.76±0.02) than when bill was presented with the participant’s own portrait (0.63±0.03). Importantly, the interaction between initial ownership and offer type was significant, F(2, 40) = 7.25, p<0.01. Simple-effect tests showed that the acceptance rate to disadvantageous unequal offers was significantly higher in the “other” condition (0.36±0.07) than in the “self” condition (0.11±0.04), t(20) = 3.81, p<0.01. A similar pattern was observed for equal offers (0.99±0.003 vs. 0.83±0.06), t(20) = 2.59, p<0.05. However, this effect was absent for advantageous unequal offers, t(20) = –0.70, p>0.1.


Brain activity in fairness consideration during asset distribution: does the initial ownership play a role?

Wu Y, Hu J, van Dijk E, Leliveld MC, Zhou X - PLoS ONE (2012)

The acceptance rate in the ultimatum game as a function of the offer type.Error bars represent standard errors of the means.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3383671&req=5

pone-0039627-g002: The acceptance rate in the ultimatum game as a function of the offer type.Error bars represent standard errors of the means.
Mentions: The acceptance rates for different division schemes are presented in Fig. 2. A 2 (initial ownership: self vs. other) × 3 (offer type: disadvantageous unequal vs. equal vs. advantageous unequal offer) repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of offer type, F(2, 40) = 108.31, p<0.001, indicating that the acceptance rate for disadvantageous unequal offers (0.24±0.05) was lower than for either equal (0.91±0.03) or advantageous unequal offers (0.94±0.03), as confirmed by the post-hoc tests (p<0.001). The differences between the equal and the advantageous unequal offer conditions were not significant (p>0.1). The main effect of initial ownership was also significant, F(1, 20) = 12.24, p<0.01, suggesting that the acceptance rate was higher when the 10 yuan bill was initially aligned with the other’s silhouette (0.76±0.02) than when bill was presented with the participant’s own portrait (0.63±0.03). Importantly, the interaction between initial ownership and offer type was significant, F(2, 40) = 7.25, p<0.01. Simple-effect tests showed that the acceptance rate to disadvantageous unequal offers was significantly higher in the “other” condition (0.36±0.07) than in the “self” condition (0.11±0.04), t(20) = 3.81, p<0.01. A similar pattern was observed for equal offers (0.99±0.003 vs. 0.83±0.06), t(20) = 2.59, p<0.05. However, this effect was absent for advantageous unequal offers, t(20) = –0.70, p>0.1.

Bottom Line: Behavioral results showed that participants were more likely to reject disadvantageous unequal and equal offers when they initially owned the property as compared to when they did not.In a late time window, however, the P300 responses to division schemes were affected not only by the type of unequal offers but also by whom the property was initially assigned to.These findings suggest that while the MFN may function as a general mechanism that evaluates whether the offer is consistent or inconsistent with the equity rule, the P300 is sensitive to top-down controlled processes, into which factors related to the allocation of attentional resources, including initial ownership and personal interests, come to play.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Key Laboratory of Child Development and Learning Science, Ministry of Education, Southeast University, Nanjing, China.

ABSTRACT
Previous behavioral studies have shown that initial ownership influences individuals' fairness consideration and other-regarding behavior. However, it is not entirely clear whether initial ownership influences the brain activity when a recipient evaluates the fairness of asset distribution. In this study, we randomly assigned the bargaining property (monetary reward) to either the allocator or the recipient in the ultimatum game and let participants of the study, acting as recipients, receive either disadvantageous unequal, equal, or advantageous unequal offers from allocators while the event-related potentials (ERPs) were recorded. Behavioral results showed that participants were more likely to reject disadvantageous unequal and equal offers when they initially owned the property as compared to when they did not. The two types of unequal offers evoked more negative going ERPs (the MFN) than the equal offers in an early time window and the differences were not modulated by the initial ownership. In a late time window, however, the P300 responses to division schemes were affected not only by the type of unequal offers but also by whom the property was initially assigned to. These findings suggest that while the MFN may function as a general mechanism that evaluates whether the offer is consistent or inconsistent with the equity rule, the P300 is sensitive to top-down controlled processes, into which factors related to the allocation of attentional resources, including initial ownership and personal interests, come to play.

Show MeSH