ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (2): 329-339.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00329

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In-group favoritism or the black sheep effect? Group bias of fairness norm enforcement during economic games

ZHANG Zhen1, QI Chunhui1(), WANG Yang2, ZHAO Hui1, WANG Xiaoxin1, GAO Xiaolei3()   

  1. 1 Faculty of Education, Henan Normal University, Xinxiang 453007, China
    2 State Grid Tianjin Power Corporation Dongli Supply Company, Tianjin 300300, China
    3 Educational College of Tibet University, Lhasa 850000, China
  • Received:2019-03-22 Online:2020-02-15 Published:2019-12-25
  • Contact: QI Chunhui,GAO Xiaolei;


Fairness norm enforcement refers to the willingness to incur personal costs to punish violations of fairness norms, which was thought to be a hallmark of human society and play a key role in cooperative interactions. Group identity refers to some knowledge of one’s group membership together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership, which directly influences people’s fairness norm enforcement during inter-group context. Using a variety of asset allocation game, researchers found group bias exerted a critical effect on fairness norm enforcement, while existing in two opposite patterns. Sometimes, people were more likely to accept unfair offer from in-groups, reflecting the pattern of in-group favoritism, but sometimes people were also more likely to punish norm violations from in-group members, revealing the form of the so-called black sheep effect. Currently, norms focused theory and mere preferences theory have usually been used to explain the above contradictory phenomena. Based on this review, future research directions should explore the boundary conditions of this bias, compare the difference of this parochial altruism induced by variable group identity, emphasize the integration of different theories, and enhance the exploration of its underlying neural mechanisms.

Key words: fairness norm enforcement, group bias, mere preferences theory, norms focused theory

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