Fairness - Social Brain

. A sense of fairness or unfairness is a correspondingly primary reward or threat. This again disputes Maslow's hierarchy concept as a sense of unfairness may be stronger than an empty stomach!!!

. Inequity aversion is so strong that people are willing to sacrifice personal gain to prevent another from receiving an inequitable better outcome.

. Increasing sense of fairness coincides with increased levels of dopamine, serotonin & oxytocin. This results in being more open to new ideas and a willingness to connect with others

. When we experience unfairness, the response goes to the part of the brain that experiences disgust, ie anterior insula

"...our brains interpret perceived unfairness as a threat..."

Rebecca Newton, 2019

. Need to be open and transparent in dealings with people.

. Increase fairness by volunteering, regularly donating resources to the poor or under-privileged, etc. Brain analysis clearly shows a greater positive response when giving, rather than receiving.

. Balancing and linking fairness and expectations explains the delight we experience from the kindness of a stranger; this is greater as it is unexpected. On the other hand, there is intense negative emotion after betrayal by people close to you

. Concept of fairness is a key driver of behaviour

. Define an unfair situation by using labeling (put into words your feelings) or reappraisal (looking at the situation from different perspectives)

. Males are less likely to show empathy with someone who is in pain and who has been treated unfair; whereas females do

. Punishing unfair people can be rewarding, and not punishing unfairness can increase the feeling of unfairness

Need to be careful of fairness being linked to other issues such as certainty, autonomy and relatedness Status . There are many aspects to status. It is relative; there is no universal scale for status. It involves a sense of reward in feeling superior; this influences the way you interact with others

. It is a significant driver of behaviour and people pay a lot of attention to protecting and building their status. It operates at an individual or group level. The desire to protect and/or increase status has resulted in incredible feats of endurance and achievement, both good and bad. The response can be visceral and limbic, and generates activity in the dorsal portion of the anterior cingulated cortex. The 5 different parts of the brain that experience physical pain are also activated by social pain, such as exclusion and/or rejection.

. If you feel that your status is at threat, the response (mostly limbic) will be strong, ie flight or fight. Remember: the limbic system, once aroused, makes accidental connections and thinks pessimistically. People will avoid taking responsibility; people don't like being wrong, they prefer to be right

. An improving sense of status activates the reward circuits, while a reducing sense of status activates threat circuitry.

. Need to be aware when other people's status is threatened; can reduce this threat by sharing your own mistakes, giving positive feedback, sharing your humanity, praising others, etc

. Need to understand your own status desires

. Just talking with a person of higher status generally activates a status threat.

. Seeking higher status can have a negative impact on other people


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