The Effect of Task Difficulty and Self-Contribution on Fairness Consideration: An Event-Related Potential Study

Frontiers in Psychology 13 (2022)
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Abstract

Self-contribution may be an influential factor in fairness consideration and consequent behavioral decisions. Few studies have investigated simultaneous effects of task difficulty and self-contribution on fairness consideration outcomes and associated neurophysiological responses. To elucidate modulation effects of task difficulty and self-contribution on fairness consideration, 30 recruited participants played a modified ultimatum game while undergoing event-related potential measurements. A 2 × 3 × 2 within-subject design was adopted. A significant interaction between fairness type and contribution was observed in the behavioral data, with unfair offers being more acceptable in the other-contribution condition than in the self-contribution or both-contribution conditions. In the early processing time window, feedback-related negative magnitudes were greater in the hard condition than in the easy condition. P300 responses were more pronounced when participants contributed equally to the proposer than in the self- and other-contribution conditions. These results demonstrated that individuals’ decisions are influenced by their own effort contributions relative to those of others in cooperative contexts.

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