Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Psychology

Supervisor

James M. Olson

Abstract

The present research investigated the moderating effect of target status on the relation between social dominance orientation and fairness in either a positively or negatively framed limited resource allocation decision. Participants were asked to read medical case files about either a high or low status patient in need of a heart transplant, then assigned the patient a transplant priority rating based on information in the case file and rating criteria provided, before completing Sidanius and Pratto’s Social Dominance Orientation scale. In Study 1, the positively framed allocation task, we found a significant interaction, in which low SDO individuals were less fair and more favourable when making decisions about a low status target, whereas high SDO individuals were less fair and more favourable when making decisions about a high status target. In Study 2, we again found a significant interaction when controlling for belief in a just world, such that low SDO individuals were less fair and more favourable to low status targets than high status targets, whereas high SDO individuals were equally fair to all targets, regardless of status. These results suggest that, on average, when allocating a limited resource, high SDO individuals follow fairness guidelines more closely than low SDO individuals.


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