Abstract

The current study explored whether earned entitlement modulated the perception of fairness in three experiments. A preliminary resource earning task was added before players decided how to allocate the resource they jointly earned. Participants' decision in allocation, their responses to equal or unequal offers, whether advantageous or disadvantageous, and subjective ratings of fairness were all assessed in the current study. Behavioral results revealed that participants proposed more generous offers and showed enhanced tolerance to disadvantageous unequal offers from others when they performed worse than their presumed "partners," while the reverse was true in the better-performance condition. The subjective ratings also indicated the effect of earned entitlement, such that worse performance was associated with higher perceived feelings of fairness for disadvantageous unequal offers, while better performance was associated with higher feelings of fairness for advantageous unequal offers. Equal offers were considered "fair" only when earned entitlement was even between two parties. In sum, the perception of fairness is modulated by an integration of egalitarian motivation and entitlement. In addition to justice principles, participants were also motivated by self-interest, such that participants placed more weight on entitlement in the better-performance condition than in the worse-performance condition. These results imply that earned entitlement is evaluated in a self-serving way.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-9-2013

Notes/Citation Information

Published in PLOS One, v. 8, issue. 9, e73106.

© 2013 Feng et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0073106

Figure_S1.tif (294 kB)
An exemplar of stimuli presentation in the number estimation task. One hundred red dots were presented on the screen, which was divided into equal left and right halves by a black line. In each trial, the number of red dots between the left and right sides always differed (i.e., varied between 40 and 60).

Figure_S2.tif (476 kB)
Event sequence in an example trial when participants played the role of proposer in Experiments 1 and 2. ITI: inter-trial interval.

Figure_S3.tif (578 kB)
Event sequence in an example trial when participants played the role of responder in Experiments 1 and 2. ITI: inter-trial interval.

Figure_S4.tif (390 kB)
The proposal presentation in Experiment 1 when participants played the proposer role. There were ten potential offers for participants to choose -90:10, 80:20, 70:30, 60:40, 50:50, 40:60, 30:70, 20:80, and 10:90. Participants were instructed to propose offers by pressing the corresponding button.

Figure_S5.tif (229 kB)
The proposal used in Experiment 2 when participants played the proposer role. There were five potential offers for participants to choose -90:10, 70:30, 50:50, 30:70, and 10:90.

Figure_S6.tif (268 kB)
The average RT and ACC in the number estimation task in Experiment 1 when the participants played the role of proposer (error bars indicate 1 SE).

Figure_S7.tif (317 kB)
The average RT and ACC in the number estimation task in Experiment 1 when the participants played the role of responder (error bars indicate 1 SE).

Figure_S8.tif (121 kB)
The average RT and ACC in the number estimation task in Experiment 2 when the participants played the role of proposer (error bars indicate 1 SE).

Figure_S9.tif (147 kB)
The average RT and ACC in the number estimation task in Experiment 2 when the participants played the role of responder (error bars show 1 SE).

Figure_S10.tif (252 kB)
The RT and ACC in the number estimation task in Experiment 3 (error bars show 1 SE).

Table_S1.doc (36 kB)
The mean (with SD) MUs that participants allocated to themselves when playing the role of proposer.

Table_S2.doc (38 kB)
The mean (with SD) acceptance rate (%) in response to each kind of offer in different performance conditions.

Table_S3.doc (35 kB)
The mean (with SD) MUs that participants allocated to themselves when playing the role of proposer.

Table_S4.doc (37 kB)
The mean (with SD) acceptance rate (%) in response to each kind of offer in different performance conditions.

Table_S5.doc (36 kB)
The mean (with SD) MUs that participants allocated to themselves when playing the role of proposer.

Table_S6.doc (37 kB)
The mean (with SD) acceptance rate (%) in response to each kind of offer in different performance conditions.

Text_S1.doc (46 kB)
The instructions in Experiment 3.

Text_S2.doc (83 kB)
Participants’ performance in the number estimation task.

Text_S3.doc (44 kB)
Statistical analysis on accept rates of each offer in Experiment 3.