Gender, mood state, and justice preference: Do mood states moderate gender-based norms of justice?


Correspondence should be addressed to Michelle Inness, University of Alberta School of Business, Alberta T6G 2R6, Canada (e-mail:


The present study extends research on distributive justice by investigating whether a person‘s mood state moderates the robust effects of gender norms on allocation decisions. One hundred and eighty undergraduates (90 men: 90 women) were asked to undergo a mood induction procedure in which they were randomly assigned to a positive, negative, or neutral mood condition, and to work on a task with either a male or female co-worker (confederate). This resulted in a 2 (gender of participant) × 2 (gender of confederate) × 3 (positive vs. neutral vs. negative mood) between-subjects factorial design. Following completion of the task, participants were informed that they did 60% of the work and their co-worker did 40%. They were then asked to divide money between themselves and their co-worker in a way that they considered fair. The analysis revealed a three-way interaction in participants self-payment whereby men in a negative mood, working with other men took more pay for themselves than did particpants in all other conditions. Specifically, 60% of the participants in this condition, allocated the payment either equitably or in a manner suggesting even greater self-interest. These results support the view that gender effects are strongly influenced by the presence of other relevant contextual cues.