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Disentangling the sense of ownership from the sense of fairness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2013

Luca Tummolini
Affiliation:
Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, Italian National Research Council, 00185 Rome, Italy. luca.tummolini@istc.cnr.ithttp://www.istc.cnr.it/people/luca-tummoliniannamaria.borghi@unibo.ithttp://laral.istc.cnr.it/borghi/
Claudia Scorolli
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, 40127 Bologna, Italy. claudia.scorolli2@unibo.ithttp://www.emco.unibo.it/groupCS.htm
Anna M. Borghi
Affiliation:
Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, Italian National Research Council, 00185 Rome, Italy. luca.tummolini@istc.cnr.ithttp://www.istc.cnr.it/people/luca-tummoliniannamaria.borghi@unibo.ithttp://laral.istc.cnr.it/borghi/ Department of Psychology, University of Bologna, 40127 Bologna, Italy. claudia.scorolli2@unibo.ithttp://www.emco.unibo.it/groupCS.htm

Abstract

Both evolutionary and developmental research indicate that humans are adapted to respecting property rights, independently (and possibly orthogonally) of considerations of fairness. We offer evidence from psychological experiments suggesting that enforcing one's rights and respecting others' possessions are basic cognitive mechanisms automatically activated and grounded in humans' sensory-motor system. This may entail an independent motivation that is more profound than considerations of fairness and impartiality.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013

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