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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2007 Nov;1118:90-101. Epub 2007 Aug 23.

Fairness and cooperation are rewarding: evidence from social cognitive neuroscience.

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The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1759, USA.


To motivate their consumers or employees, corporations often offer monetary incentives, such as cash-back deals or salary bonuses. However, human behavior is not solely driven by material outcome; fairness and equity matter as well. In a recent neuroimaging study, fair offers led to higher happiness ratings and increased activity in several reward regions of the brain compared with unfair offers of equal monetary value. Other neuroimaging studies have similarly shown activation in reward regions in response to cooperative partners or cooperative play. Here, we review these findings and discuss the implications for organizational settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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