Social Science

   

The Frustration Effect: Behavioral and Emotional Reactions to Unanswered Voice

Authors: Liraz Margalit, Ramzi Suleiman, Yuval Samid

The frustration effect refers to situations in which, despite an individual’s option to express an opinion, the decision maker does not take that opinion into consideration. Theories of justice predict that, compared with having no voice, an unanswered voice will result in more frustration, dissatisfaction, and negative evaluations of outcome and procedural fairness. We tested these predictions experimentally, using an ultimatum and dictator games in which all participants played the role of recipients, while the allocators were fictitious players, who ostensibly offered them low shares. We found strong support to the frustration-effect hypothesis. Relative to recipients in the no-voice condition, in the unanswered-voice condition recipients in the two games perceived the situation as less fair and expressed more frustration and dissatisfaction from their low outcomes. Moreover, compared with the dictator condition, in the ultimatum game a significantly higher percentage of the recipients rejected the low offers under the unanswered-voice condition than under the no-voice condition. The results also revealed an interesting gender difference in the participants' responses to unanswered voice. Compared to women, men reported higher frustration levels, and rejected low offers with a significantly higher rate when their voice was ignored.

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[v1] 2014-11-28 15:09:23

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