Primacy Effects in Justice Judgments: Testing Predictions from Fairness Heuristic Theory

E. Allan Lind, Laura Kray, Leigh Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


We tested predictions from fairness heuristic theory that justice judgments are more sensitive to early fairness-relevant information than to later fairness-relevant information and that this primacy effect is more evident when group identification is higher. Participants working on a series of three tasks experienced resource failures that interfered with their productivity and always had the possibility of explaining problems to a supervisor. In a manipulation of the timing of fairness-relevant experiences, the supervisor refused to consider explanations on the first, second, or third of three work trials (but did consider explanations on the other two trials) or the supervisor never refused to hear the explanations. Prior to the work periods, the participants either had or had not undergone a manipulation designed to induce greater identification with the work group. As predicted, the timing of fairness-relevant experiences showed a primacy effect on fairness judgments and acceptance of authority in the high identification conditions and no evidence of such an effect in the low identification conditions. The implications of the findings for understanding the psychology of justice and for real-world justice phenomena are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-210
Number of pages22
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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