The Fairness Bias: How Our Brain Distorts Our Sense of Justice

As humans, we have a deep-rooted need for fairness and justice in our lives. We strive to be treated fairly by others, and we expect the same in return. However, recent studies have shown that our sense of fairness and justice is not always objective. In fact, our brains are wired to view the world in a way that is biased towards our own sense of fairness, which can lead to unjust outcomes.

The Fairness Bias

The fairness bias is a term used to describe the way in which our brains distort our sense of justice. Essentially, our brains are wired to view the world in a way that is biased towards our own sense of fairness. This means that we are more likely to view outcomes as fair if they benefit us, even if they are objectively unjust.

For example, consider a situation where two coworkers are up for a promotion. One coworker has been with the company for years and has a lot of experience, while the other coworker is relatively new to the company but has shown a lot of potential. The promotion ultimately goes to the new coworker, and the experienced coworker is understandably upset. However, their sense of fairness may be distorted by their own bias towards their own experience and tenure with the company, leading them to view the situation as unjust.

This bias is not limited to workplace situations. In fact, it can be seen in all aspects of our lives, from personal relationships to political beliefs. We are more likely to view outcomes as fair if they align with our own beliefs and values, even if they are objectively unfair to others.

The Origins of the Fairness Bias

So why do our brains have this bias towards our own sense of fairness? One theory is that it stems from our evolutionary past. In small, hunter-gatherer societies, it would have been important for individuals to ensure that they were not being taken advantage of by others. As such, a bias towards one's own sense of fairness would have been advantageous for survival.

However, in our modern, complex society, this bias can lead to problems. It can cause us to make decisions that are unfair to others, and it can lead to conflict and tension in our relationships and society as a whole.

Overcoming the Fairness Bias

The first step in overcoming the fairness bias is to recognize that it exists. We need to be aware of our own biases and how they influence our thinking and decision-making. This can be challenging, as our biases are often subconscious and deeply ingrained in our thinking.

One way to overcome the fairness bias is to try to view situations from multiple perspectives. This means taking the time to consider other people's viewpoints and how they might view a situation. It also means being open to feedback and criticism from others, even if it challenges our own sense of fairness.

Another way to overcome the fairness bias is to employ objective standards and criteria when making decisions. This means setting aside our own biases and relying on objective, data-driven measures to guide our decision-making. It also means being willing to adjust our own beliefs and values in light of new information.

Conclusion

The fairness bias is a natural part of our human psychology, but it can lead to unjust outcomes if left unchecked. By recognizing our own biases and striving to view situations objectively, we can overcome the fairness bias and promote justice and fairness in all aspects of our lives.