It’s not fair! How the human equality condition can hold some people back

McGowan, J. (2014) It’s not fair! How the human equality condition can hold some people back. The

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When you have more than one child, the importance of fairness seems to trump all other considerations, including self-interest. Give a child £1 and she will be happy. But if she finds out that her sibling got £1.50, she will be angry. Take the money away from both and she will be satisfied. Both have lost, but the other sibling has lost more and so all is right with the world.

In my frazzled state it can feel like my kids are simply brats who live to make my life difficult. A more considered look at the evidence however tells a different story. In fact research suggests that, though they may be more obvious about it, it is not just children who have a profound (and sometimes self-injurious) aversion to unfairness. Two behavioural economists have gone as far as to suggest that “willingness to sacrifice potential gain to block another individual from receiving a superior reward” is basic to the human condition.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0636 Applied psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology > Salomons Centre for Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Dr John McGowan
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2016 13:57
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2016 13:57

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00