"I'm worth more than that": trait positivity predicts increased rejection of unfair financial offers.
Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2010 Dunn 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.
Humans react strongly to unfairness, sometimes rejecting inequitable proposals even if this sacrifices personal financial gain. Here we explored whether emotional dispositions--trait tendencies to experience positive or negative feelings--shape the rejection of unfair financial offers. Participants played an Ultimatum Game, where the division of a sum of money is proposed and the player can accept or reject this offer. Individuals high in trait positivity and low in trait negativity rejected more unfair offers. These relationships could not be explained by existing accounts which argue that rejection behaviour results from a failure to regulate negative emotions, or serves to arbitrate social relationships and identity. Instead, the relationship between dispositional affect and rejection behaviour may be underpinned by perceived self worth, with those of a positive disposition believing that they are "worth more than that" and those of a negative disposition resigning themselves to "taking the crumbs from under the table".
Barney Dunn and Davy Evans involvement in the study was supported by the UK Medical Research Council (U1055.02.002.00001.01). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
This is the final version of the article. Available from Public Library of Science via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 5, Iss. 12, pp. e15095 -
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