Too Tired to Care: the Selfish Impulse and the Will to Be Fair

Sachin Banker, MIT, USA
The studies presented here aim to address the apparent conflict that exists in proposed accounts of the nature of fairness versus self-interest motives. While some neuroscientific evidence has provided support for the view that the concern for fairness relies on an emotional impulse that must be controlled in order to act in rational self-interest, other evidence has supported an opposing view that the concern for fairness is instead realized through the control of selfish impulses. The two psychological theories generated from this neural evidence were tested using ego-depletion methods and provide support for the latter view that people are in fact driven by selfish impulses that must be resisted in order to enact fair outcomes. Moreover, it is also found that more general implementation of altruistic, reciprocal, as well as efficiency norms requires the control of self-interested impulses. This evidence offers important implications regarding consumer behavior that differ dramatically from those generated by the conflicting account.
[ to cite ]:
Sachin Banker (2011) ,"Too Tired to Care: the Selfish Impulse and the Will to Be Fair", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 39, eds. Rohini Ahluwalia, Tanya L. Chartrand, and Rebecca K. Ratner, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 900-901.