Researchers from the University of Exeter, the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Services Unit, and the University of Cambridge measured the heart rate and level of sweating through the fingertips of 51 people presented with a series of offers.
The game – a version of a psychological test called the Ultimate Game – showed that gut reactions under time pressure with incomplete information can result in irrational decisions. Though an offer of a 50-50 money split was mostly accepted, an offer of less than an even split was rejected, despite the participants being left with nothing.
Speaking to Reuter, clinical psychologist Barney Dunn said: “Humans are highly attuned to unfairness and we are sometimes required to weigh up the demands of maintaining justice with preserving our own economic self interest.
“At a time when ideas of fairness in the financial sector – from bankers’ bonuses to changes to pension schemes – are being widely debated, it is important to recognise why some individuals rebel against perceived unfairness, whereas other people are prepared to accept the status quo.”
Read more here.
Not a member?
To share your thoughts sign up now. You'll also be entered into the weekly lunchtime lottery.