People prefer equity to efficiency, study says

In these trails, subjects overwhelmingly chose to preserve equity at the expense of efficiency, Hsu said. ‘They were all quite inequity averse.’ The findings support other studies that show that most people are fairly intolerant of inequity.

The animation, in conjunction with the fMRI, allowed the researchers to view activity in the brain at critical moments in the decision-making process. After analyzing the data, they found that different brain regions – the insula, putamen and caudate – were activated differently, and at different points in the process, Hsu said.

Activation of the insula varied from trial to trial in relation to changes in equity, while activity in the putamen corresponded to changes in efficiency, he said.

In contrast, the caudate appeared to integrate both equity and efficiency once a decision was made.

The involvement of the insula appears to support the notion that emotion plays a role in a person’s attitude towards inequity, Hsu said.

Full Story: Eureka

(via Tomorrow Museum)


  1. This study, centered around the (virtual) distribution of food among children, was conducted only on women. Or men. Or men and women equally. Apparently the results are the same because we are not told anything about the test subjects.

  2. You Technoccultistes may’ve meant ‘efficiency’. ‘Effeciency’ would mean ‘redolent of feces’… everyone prefers Equity to Poopishness.

  3. Thanks Ned, typo fixed.

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