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Abstract

Two studies are reported that examine whether fairness judgments in dyadic exchange situations are influenced by descriptive ingroup norms or the interdependence structure of the exchange situation. In both studies, these factors were varied within a minimal group categorization paradigm. Results showed that ingroup norms affected fairness judgments when participants interacted with another group member and interaction outcomes could be affected by this partner. However, in interactions with group members who could not influence the outcome of the partners no effects of ingroup norms were observed. Together, the results suggest that persons do not simply assimilate their fairness judgments to the normative context of their group, but adapt fairness judgments rather strategically to the expected behavior of their interaction partner in order to maintain general equality or reciprocity principles. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.