The ball don't lie”: How inequity aversion can undermine performance
- ISSN: 00221031
- DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.008
Previous research has found that people are often averse to inequity, even when it works to their own advantage. The present research extends previous demonstrations of inequity aversion by examining how it plays out in a real-world context in which self-interest motivations and competitive pressures are substantial. National Basketball Association games were examined and instances of obviously incorrect foul calls were identified. Players were found to make a substantially lower percentage of the foul shots they were awarded as a result of incorrect calls, indicating that they were troubled by the inequity. This drop-off in performance was only observed when the shooter's team was ahead, highlighting the trade-off between the two conflicting motives of self-interest (the desire to win) and inequity aversion.