In this study we show that experiencing physical pain interacts with justice related cognition and serves to reduce justice-restoring behavior in the context of interpersonal moral transgressions. This is because concepts of punishment and justice are embodied within the experience of pain, allowing for a sense of atonement from one's wrongdoings. Two thirds of the participants were induced to feel that their performance in a two player game was unfair. Half of those participants were then asked to engage in a physically painful task, and were afterwards less likely to make amends for past poor performance compared to players who completed a similar, but non-painful task. This effect was only evident for participants who are particularly sensitive to personal injustices and therefore sensitive to the justice restoring qualities of pain.

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Motivation and Emotion
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University

van Bunderen, L, & Bastian, B. (2014). "I have paid my dues": When physical pain reduces interpersonal justice motivations. Motivation and Emotion, 38(4), 540–546. doi:10.1007/s11031-014-9403-8