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Primacy Effects in Justice Judgments: Testing Predictions from Fairness Heuristic Theory, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes


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. In a manipulation of fairness-relevant experiences, a supervisor denied the participant the opportunity to explain his or her problems on the first, second, or third of three work trials (but participants were given an opportunity to explain on the other two trials), or the supervisor never denied the participant the opportunity to explain. 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, there was 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.




E.Allan Lind, Laura J. Kray, Leigh Thompson

Date Published



Lind, E.Allan, Laura J. Kray, and Leigh Thompson. 2001. Primacy Effects in Justice Judgments: Testing Predictions from Fairness Heuristic Theory. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.(2): 189-210.


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