Thoughts That Count: Fairness and Possibilities, Intentions and Reactions

Kurt A. Carlson, Duke University
David Sally, Cornell University
ABSTRACT - All forms of perception are subject to context effects arising from the background, contrast with surrounding objects, and the relationship of the perceiver with the object. Fairness is simply the perceived goodness of an act that affects someone in addition to the actor. As a perception, then, fairness should be dependent upon the surrounding choice set of the actor, his previous actions, his intentions, and his identity. We present a simple experiment that involves a context in which an uneven allocation is, nevertheless, judged fair and responded to positively. Accordingly, fairness models that rely solely on difference aversion must be supplemented by a deeper understanding of constructive preferences and social interaction. In addition to fairness, possibilities and intentions are shown to be critical to an understanding of apologies, well-being, euphemisms, criminal sentencing, and prenuptial agreements.
[ to cite ]:
Kurt A. Carlson and David Sally (2002) ,"Thoughts That Count: Fairness and Possibilities, Intentions and Reactions", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, eds. Susan M. Broniarczyk and Kent Nakamoto, Valdosta, GA : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 79.

Advances in Consumer Research Volume 29, 2002     Page 79

THOUGHTS THAT COUNT: FAIRNESS AND POSSIBILITIES, INTENTIONS AND REACTIONS

Kurt A. Carlson, Duke University

David Sally, Cornell University

ABSTRACT -

All forms of perception are subject to context effects arising from the background, contrast with surrounding objects, and the relationship of the perceiver with the object. Fairness is simply the perceived goodness of an act that affects someone in addition to the actor. As a perception, then, fairness should be dependent upon the surrounding choice set of the actor, his previous actions, his intentions, and his identity. We present a simple experiment that involves a context in which an uneven allocation is, nevertheless, judged fair and responded to positively. Accordingly, fairness models that rely solely on difference aversion must be supplemented by a deeper understanding of constructive preferences and social interaction. In addition to fairness, possibilities and intentions are shown to be critical to an understanding of apologies, well-being, euphemisms, criminal sentencing, and prenuptial agreements.

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