Life history, code of honor, and emotional responses to inequality in an economic game

Eric J. Pedersen, Daniel E. Forster, Michael McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The code of honor, which is characterized by a preoccupation with reputation and willingness to take retaliatory action, has been used extensively to explain individual and cultural differences in peoples' tendencies to behave aggressively. However, research on the relationship between the code of honor and emotional responses to social interactions has been limited in scope, focusing primarily on anger in response to insults and reputational threats. Here we broaden this scope by examining the relationship between code of honor and emotional reactions in response to an unfair economic exchange that resulted in unequal monetary earnings among 3 laboratory participants. We found that endorsement of the code of honor was related to anger and envy in response to unfair monetary distributions. Interestingly, code of honor predicted envy above and beyond what could be accounted for by anger, but the converse was not the case. This suggests that the code of honor influenced perceptions of how subjects viewed their own earnings relative to those of others, which consequently was responsible for their apparent anger as a result of the economic transaction. Furthermore, the unique relationship between code of honor and envy was present only for subjects who received unfair treatment and not for subjects who merely witnessed unfair treatment. Additionally, we replicated previous findings that harsh childhood environmental conditions are associated with endorsement of the code of honor, highlighting the potential value of incorporating a life history theoretical approach to investigating individual differences in endorsement of the code of honor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-929
Number of pages10
JournalEmotion
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

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Anger
Economics
Individuality
Interpersonal Relations
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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Life history, code of honor, and emotional responses to inequality in an economic game. / Pedersen, Eric J.; Forster, Daniel E.; McCullough, Michael.

In: Emotion, Vol. 14, No. 5, 01.10.2014, p. 920-929.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pedersen, Eric J. ; Forster, Daniel E. ; McCullough, Michael. / Life history, code of honor, and emotional responses to inequality in an economic game. In: Emotion. 2014 ; Vol. 14, No. 5. pp. 920-929.
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