Reducing Uncertainty by Fairness Information
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The Uncertainty Management Model (van den Bos & Lind, 2002; Lind & van den Bos, 2002) suggest that fairness information serves the psychological functions of reducing uncertainty. The current research tested this hypothesis directly by manipulating the salience of fairness information. The results showed that fairness salience did not affect participant’s uncertainty. Uncertainty salience however did raise perception of fairness, especially for participants feeling uncertain. These results suggest that feelings of uncertainty alter the way fairness information is processed. In additional qualitative interviews the nature of the relation between fairness and uncertainty was explored in depth. Interview data suggest that both instrumental and non-instrumental issues are involved in the effect uncertainty has on fairness, but that mainly non-instrumental concerns are responsible for the effect of fairness on uncertainty. Based on these results it is concluded that uncertainty and fairness perceptions are related, but that different processes are involved depending on the direction of the relation. A theoretical model is proposed for dual processes in fairness sensitization and uncertainty reduction. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.