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From Honesty-Humility to fair behavior - benevolence or a (blind) fairness norm?

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Hilbig, B. E., Thielmann, I., Wührl, J., & Zettler, I. (2015). From Honesty-Humility to fair behavior - benevolence or a (blind) fairness norm? Personality and Individual Differences, 80, 91-95. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.02.017.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-E90D-3
Recent research has identified trait Honesty–Humility as a vital determinant of a variety of cooperative, fair, or pro-social behaviors. However, it is less clear what drives the link between Honesty–Humility and the tendency to exhibit fair behavior which we first demonstrate in a meta-analysis of prior work using the dictator game. To close this gap, we test two potential explanations, namely benevolence versus an internalized (blind) fairness norm. In a redistribution paradigm, we implemented an unfair situation in which participants and their hypothetical counterparts received asymmetric rewards for the same performance in a quiz. The asymmetry was either to the participants’ advantage or disadvantage, manipulated experimentally. Finally, participants were empowered to redistribute all rewards at will. In line with the benevolence account, individuals high in Honesty–Humility established a fair distribution if they themselves were advantaged (thus making sure they do not exploit others) whereas they refrained from rectifying the asymmetry (by taking points from the other) if they were disadvantaged. Vice versa, the pattern cannot be accommodated by the idea of a (blind) fairness norm which would have implied that individuals high in Honesty–Humility establish an equal distribution irrespective of who is advantaged.