Saturday, 24 June 2017

Fair play

By Alan Honick

"Everyone100 percent of an admittedly tiny sampleremembered their first encounter with fairness in its negative incarnation. My hypothesis is that this pattern holds, if not universally, at least among a very high percentage of individuals."

"We apparently begin with fairness as our default position. We’re surprised and affronted when we first face a situation that seems unfair, so that’s what we remember."

"It seems we’re predisposed to prefer and expect fairness..."


"While that seems to be clear evidence that a sense of fairness and altruism are linked in individual development, it gives only a suggestion that these personality traits may be, to some degree, encoded in our genes. By 15 months environmental influences, such as parenting style and sibling interactions, have undoubtedly begun to shape behaviour."

"Whatever the roots of causality that underlie these prosocial behaviors, it seems remarkable that a sense of fairness and altruism should be evident so early in life, with such marked variability in its expression. The experiments performed by Ernst Fehr and colleagues demonstrated that prosocial behaviors emerge as children learn to interact within a social milieu. Sommerville’s experiments suggest the possibility that some individuals may develop a strong sense of fairness more naturally."

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