When Punishment is Emotion-Driven: Children’s, Adolescents’, and Adults’ Costly Punishment of Unfair Allocations

Gummerum, M and Lopez-Perez, B. and Van Dijk, Eric and Van Dillen, Lotte F. (2019) When Punishment is Emotion-Driven: Children’s, Adolescents’, and Adults’ Costly Punishment of Unfair Allocations. Social Development. ISSN 0961-205X

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When do children, adolescents, and adults decide to punish fairness violations? Two studies with 9-year-old children, 13-year-old adolescents, and adults investigated whether the link between unfairness and punishment was mediated by negative emotional reactions (measured through galvanic skin responses and emotion ratings). Study 1 (N = 117) examined this question in the context of second-party punishment, where the punisher is a direct victim of the violation. Study 2 (N = 119) assessed third-party punishment, where the punisher is an observer, unaffected by the violation. In each study, participants were presented with seven distributions of points between a proposer and receiver which differed in how fairly the points were allocated between proposer and receiver. Participants had to decide whether to punish these distributions. While the unfairness of the distribution strongly influenced second- and third-party punishment in all age groups, the mediating role of emotional appraisals (i.e., galvanic skin responses vs. emotion ratings) depended on whether or not the punisher was personally affected by the violation (i.e., second- vs. third-party punishment) and age. These findings suggest that negative emotions primarily motivate costly punishment when the punisher is affected by the violation or when an unaffected third-party punisher takes the perspective of the victim of a violation, an ability that develops between childhood and adolescence.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This is the peer reviewed version of an article that has been accepted for publication in Social Development. The final version is available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/sode.12387 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Belen Lopez-Perez
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2019 13:13
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2020 09:50
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2879

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