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Social information affects adults' evaluation of fairness in distributions: An ERP approach.

PLoS ONE. 2017;12(2):e0172974 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0172974


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Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML



Mitsuhiko Ishikawa

Yun-Hee Park

Michiteru Kitazaki

Shoji Itakura


Peer review

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Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The sense of fairness has been observed in early infancy. Because many studies of fairness in adults have used economic games such as the Ultimatum Game, it has been difficult to compare fairness between adults and infants. Further, recent studies have suggested that social information about actors who behave fairly or unfairly may influence the judgement of fairness in infants. Therefore, to compare the sense of fairness between infants and adults, the study using paradigm in infant research is required. We examined how social information about two characters, either prosocial or antisocial, affects the event-related potential response (ERP) to fair or unfair resource distributions in adults. In the habituation phase, participants were informed about characters' social information through their actions. One character then distributed resources fairly or unfairly, and ERP was measured at the end of the distribution. Data from eighteen adult participants were analysed. A significant interaction of social information and fairness was found for late positive potential (LPP), but a post-hoc t test revealed a significant difference between fair and unfair conditions only for actions of the antisocial character. We found that LPP can reflect the sense of fairness affected by social information. Comparison with infant studies suggests that the sense of fairness may change during development.