Justice sensitivity and distributive decisions in experimental games

Detlef Fetchenhauer*, Xu Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

160 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of "justice sensitivity" has been introduced as a personality disposition by Schmitt, Neumann and Montada (1995) and is supposed to explain inter-individual differences in reactions to unfair situations. Justice sensitivity can be differentiated in three subdimensions: (1) Sensitivity with regard to experiencing injustice towards oneself (JSVictim), (2) sensitivity to observing that others are treated unfairly (JSObserver) and, (3) sensitivity to profiting from unfair events (JSPerpetrator). Using a sample of 190 university students the three dimensions of justice sensitivity were used to predict decisions in a number of game theoretical paradigms (dictator games, ultimatum games and a combination of these two games). The higher respondents scored on both JSObserver and JSPerpetrator, the more their decisions followed norms of equality. The contrary was true for JSVictim. The implications of these findings for future research using the concept of justice sensitivity are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1029
Number of pages15
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Psychology(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Dictator games
  • Fairness
  • Justice sensitivity
  • Ultimatum games


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