Tolerance of Justice Violations: The Effects of Need on Emotional Reactions After Violating Equality in Social Dilemmas


  • This work was supported by GOA/05/04 from the Research Fund of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (G.0477.09).

Jeroen Stouten, Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat 102, 3000 Leuven, Belgium. E-mail:


Equality is an important coordination rule in social dilemmas. Studies have shown that a violation of equality elicits strong negative emotions. This research addresses whether these emotional reactions occur when another group member is in need of social support. Results showed that participants reacted less negatively if equality was violated and the other person was in need. Moreover, it was shown that there are individual differences in the extent to which people are influenced by fairness violations in their emotional reactions. In particular, Conscientiousness was important for people's emotional reactions, and people low rather than high in Conscientiousness reacted more negatively. These findings are discussed in light of coordination rules and emotions in social dilemmas and individual differences.