Does trait interpersonal fairness moderate situational influence on fairness behavior?

Blaine J. Fowers, Alexandra A. Lane, John M. Abbamonte, Samantha F. Lang, Bradford Cokelet, Austen R. Anderson, Kathryn Cioffi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although fairness is a key moral trait, limited research focuses on participants' observed fairness behavior because moral traits are generally measured through self-report. This experiment focused on day-to-day interpersonal fairness rather than impersonal justice, and fairness was assessed as observed behavior. The experiment investigated whether a self-reported fairness trait would moderate a situational influence on observed fairness behavior, such that individuals with a stronger fairness trait would be less affected by a situational influence than those with a weaker fairness trait. We used an iterated resource game in which participants could withdraw resources as they chose, and we manipulated the number of resources bogus players withdrew. The number of resources participants withdrew was the behavioral measure of fairness. Results confirmed the expected moderation of the unfairness manipulation by a fairness trait on observed behavior. Those reporting a stronger fairness trait were unaffected by the manipulation, whereas those reporting a weaker fairness trait were more strongly influenced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111615
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Fairness
  • Resource game
  • Trait
  • Virtue
  • traitXsituation moderation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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