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Social distance and anonymity modulate fairness consideration: An ERP study.

Yu R, Hu P, Zhang P - Sci Rep (2015)

Bottom Line: At the behavior level, we found that acceptance rate and reaction time can be substantially modified by social distance and anonymity.Feedback-related negativity, an ERP component associated with conflict between cognitive and emotion motives, was more negative in response to unfairness than fairness from strangers; however, it showed an opposite trend for unfair offers provided by friends, suggesting that the influence of social distance on fairness perception is relatively fast.These results suggest that unfairness is evaluated in a fast conflict detection stage and a slower stage that integrates more complex social contextual factors such as anonymity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology and Center for Studies of Psychological Application, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.

ABSTRACT
Previous research indicated that fairness consideration can be influenced by social distance. However, it is not clear whether social distance and anonymity have an interactive impact on fairness evaluation during asset distribution and whether these processes can be documented in brain activity. Using a modified ultimatum game combined with measures of event related potential (ERP), we examined how social distance and anonymity modulate brain response to inequality. At the behavior level, we found that acceptance rate and reaction time can be substantially modified by social distance and anonymity. Feedback-related negativity, an ERP component associated with conflict between cognitive and emotion motives, was more negative in response to unfairness than fairness from strangers; however, it showed an opposite trend for unfair offers provided by friends, suggesting that the influence of social distance on fairness perception is relatively fast. The P300 in response to fair offers was more positive when the proposers made offers when uncertain about partner identity than when certain about partner identity. These results suggest that unfairness is evaluated in a fast conflict detection stage and a slower stage that integrates more complex social contextual factors such as anonymity.

No MeSH data available.


Rate of acceptance and reaction times in experimental conditions.Rate of acceptance (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions (unfair offers in red and fair offers in green) are shown in (A). Reaction times (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions are shown in (B).
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f2: Rate of acceptance and reaction times in experimental conditions.Rate of acceptance (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions (unfair offers in red and fair offers in green) are shown in (A). Reaction times (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions are shown in (B).

Mentions: Acceptance rates for different division schemes are presented in Fig. 2A. A 2 (fairness level: fair vs. unfair offer) × 2 (social distance: friend vs. stranger) × 2 (degree of anonymity: certainty about identity vs. uncertainty about identity) repeated-measure ANOVA was performed to analyze the data. Acceptance rate was defined by the percentage of acceptance choices in each condition. Results revealed the main effect of fairness was significant, F(1, 18) = 25.016, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.582, with the acceptance rate for fair offers (mean ± SE, 98.5% ± 0.4%) being higher than that for unfair offers (mean ± SE, 70.4% ± 5.6%). The main effect of social distance was also significant F(1, 18) = 8.503, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.321; the acceptance rate for offers from friends (mean ± SE, 88.5% ± 2.8%) was higher than that for offers from strangers (mean ± SE, 80.4% ± 3.5%). The main effect of anonymity was significant, F(1, 18) = 10.446, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.367, with the acceptance rate for the offers in the certainty about identity condition (mean ± SE, 85.3% ± 2.9%) being higher than that for the offers in the anonymous condition (mean ± SE, 83.7% ± 2.8%). The interaction between social distance and fairness level was significant, F(1, 18) = 10.059, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.358. Unfair offers from friends were accepted more often (mean ± SE, 78.6% ± 5.4%) than unfair offers from strangers (mean ± SE, 62.1% ± 6.9%), t(18) = 3.057, p < 0.01. In the fair condition, there was no significant difference on acceptance rate for fair offers from friends (mean ± SE, 98.3% ± 0.5%) vs. from strangers (mean ± SE, 98.5% ± 0.3%), t(18) = −0.377, p > 0.2. In other words, within the stranger condition, unfair offers were rejected more often than fair offers (62.1% vs. 98.5%), whereas within the friends condition, this effect was less pronounced (78.6% vs. 98.3%). The results suggest that the recipient was particularly tolerant of unfairness coming from a friend in the unfair condition. No other effect was significant, p > 0.2.


Social distance and anonymity modulate fairness consideration: An ERP study.

Yu R, Hu P, Zhang P - Sci Rep (2015)

Rate of acceptance and reaction times in experimental conditions.Rate of acceptance (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions (unfair offers in red and fair offers in green) are shown in (A). Reaction times (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions are shown in (B).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4544037&req=5

f2: Rate of acceptance and reaction times in experimental conditions.Rate of acceptance (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions (unfair offers in red and fair offers in green) are shown in (A). Reaction times (mean ± SE) for the eight experimental conditions are shown in (B).
Mentions: Acceptance rates for different division schemes are presented in Fig. 2A. A 2 (fairness level: fair vs. unfair offer) × 2 (social distance: friend vs. stranger) × 2 (degree of anonymity: certainty about identity vs. uncertainty about identity) repeated-measure ANOVA was performed to analyze the data. Acceptance rate was defined by the percentage of acceptance choices in each condition. Results revealed the main effect of fairness was significant, F(1, 18) = 25.016, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.582, with the acceptance rate for fair offers (mean ± SE, 98.5% ± 0.4%) being higher than that for unfair offers (mean ± SE, 70.4% ± 5.6%). The main effect of social distance was also significant F(1, 18) = 8.503, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.321; the acceptance rate for offers from friends (mean ± SE, 88.5% ± 2.8%) was higher than that for offers from strangers (mean ± SE, 80.4% ± 3.5%). The main effect of anonymity was significant, F(1, 18) = 10.446, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.367, with the acceptance rate for the offers in the certainty about identity condition (mean ± SE, 85.3% ± 2.9%) being higher than that for the offers in the anonymous condition (mean ± SE, 83.7% ± 2.8%). The interaction between social distance and fairness level was significant, F(1, 18) = 10.059, p < 0.01, ηp2 = 0.358. Unfair offers from friends were accepted more often (mean ± SE, 78.6% ± 5.4%) than unfair offers from strangers (mean ± SE, 62.1% ± 6.9%), t(18) = 3.057, p < 0.01. In the fair condition, there was no significant difference on acceptance rate for fair offers from friends (mean ± SE, 98.3% ± 0.5%) vs. from strangers (mean ± SE, 98.5% ± 0.3%), t(18) = −0.377, p > 0.2. In other words, within the stranger condition, unfair offers were rejected more often than fair offers (62.1% vs. 98.5%), whereas within the friends condition, this effect was less pronounced (78.6% vs. 98.3%). The results suggest that the recipient was particularly tolerant of unfairness coming from a friend in the unfair condition. No other effect was significant, p > 0.2.

Bottom Line: At the behavior level, we found that acceptance rate and reaction time can be substantially modified by social distance and anonymity.Feedback-related negativity, an ERP component associated with conflict between cognitive and emotion motives, was more negative in response to unfairness than fairness from strangers; however, it showed an opposite trend for unfair offers provided by friends, suggesting that the influence of social distance on fairness perception is relatively fast.These results suggest that unfairness is evaluated in a fast conflict detection stage and a slower stage that integrates more complex social contextual factors such as anonymity.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Psychology and Center for Studies of Psychological Application, South China Normal University, Guangzhou, China.

ABSTRACT
Previous research indicated that fairness consideration can be influenced by social distance. However, it is not clear whether social distance and anonymity have an interactive impact on fairness evaluation during asset distribution and whether these processes can be documented in brain activity. Using a modified ultimatum game combined with measures of event related potential (ERP), we examined how social distance and anonymity modulate brain response to inequality. At the behavior level, we found that acceptance rate and reaction time can be substantially modified by social distance and anonymity. Feedback-related negativity, an ERP component associated with conflict between cognitive and emotion motives, was more negative in response to unfairness than fairness from strangers; however, it showed an opposite trend for unfair offers provided by friends, suggesting that the influence of social distance on fairness perception is relatively fast. The P300 in response to fair offers was more positive when the proposers made offers when uncertain about partner identity than when certain about partner identity. These results suggest that unfairness is evaluated in a fast conflict detection stage and a slower stage that integrates more complex social contextual factors such as anonymity.

No MeSH data available.