Behavioral and Emotional Reactions to Voice Unanswered
1 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2011 Last revised: 21 Dec 2011
Date Written: June 24, 2011
People are influenced profoundly by the extent to which they perceive social situations as fair or unfair. Numerous studies have found that people perceive procedures that allow them an opportunity to voice their opinions as fairer and as more satisfying than procedures that do not allow them such an opportunity. However, people feel more frustrated when they receive low outcomes in procedures that include voice. This phenomenon is known as the “frustration effect”.
Aims: In ultimatum and dictator games with voice, we tested the recipients’ reactions to having their voice disregarded.
Method: In the control condition, participants played in the role of recipient in a one-period ultimatum, or dictator game, with or without voice. In the voice condition they could also send short pre-decisional messages to the allocators. In addition, they answered a post-experimental questionnaire pertaining to their levels of satisfaction and perceptions of outcome and procedural fairness.
Results: 1. In the ultimatum game rejection rates of low offers were significantly higher in the voice condition. 2. The detected effect was stronger among male participants. 3. Feelings of anger, frustration and insult were higher in the voice, than in the no-voice condition, particularly in the ultimatum game. 4. Recipients’ dissatisfaction from low offers was more pronounced in the ultimatum than in the dictator game. 5. In both games, low offers were perceived as less fair in the voice, than in the no-voice condition.
Main conclusions: Our findings lend strong support to the “frustration effect”. In addition, they suggest that a “deaf ear” to voice is more frustrating when the recipient has structural power (i.e., in the ultimatum game). The detected voice X gender effect could be attributed to the persisting discrimination against women, who, as consequence, are less affected by having their voice disregarded.
Keywords: game theory, decision making, voice, signaling
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