Article

Belief in a Just World: Research Progress Over the Past Decade

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Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on just world beliefs (BJW) and updates two previous reviews Lerner & Miller (1978), Furnham & Proctor (1989). Four broad areas of development were identified. First, critiques of self-report questionnaires and the development of new and psychometrically improved measures of BJW and related concepts were reviewed. Second, an extension of the studies of victim derogation and devaluation, particularly to those with AIDs and those who have experienced traumatic events such as rape, were discussed. Third, comparative recent research looking at BJW as a coping mechanism that may both buffer stress and facilitate achievement striving was reviewed. This focused on both the function and potential benefits of the BJW. Fourth an examination of cultural and demographic differences in the distribution of BJW was reviewed. There seems to be a movement from stressing the negative consequences of the BJW to understanding its psychological beneficial functions. It is concluded that the new direction in BJW research will ensure survival of research into the phenomenon for many years to come.

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... BJW is an important theory about how people perceive the environment and social context in which they live, arguing that people need to believe that the world is just and that people get what they deserve here (Lerner and Miller, 1978;Hafer and Rubel, 2015). An important adaptive function of BJW is to enable people to believe that the world is just, stable and orderly, with predictable outcomes, and that they can get what they deserve (Furnham, 2003;Hafer and Begue, 2005). It is also regarded as a personal trait that facilitates individuals to weigh the pursuit and achievement of long-term goals . ...
... This shows that PC and SC work together in coordination to promote the development of the individual. BJW as an individual's perception of environmental justice or otherwise, although there is no direct evidence of a relationship with control strategies, control strategies are primarily about how individuals choose, pursue, and disengage from their goals in the environment (Heckhausen, 2000), which is consistent with the ability of BJW to influence individuals' goal pursuit and to plan and act on goals according to the environment (Furnham, 2003;Bartholomaeus and Strelan, 2019). PC has been shown to be evolutionarily determined in, mammals in general (Heckhausen andSchulz, 1993, 1995). ...
... PC and SC have parallel mediating roles in the BJW and Mini-K scores, which is consistent with our H2. Control strategies focus on how individuals choose, pursue, and disengage from their goals in the environment (Heckhausen, 2000), which is consistent with the ability of BJW to influence individuals to pursue goals and to plan and act on goals according to their environment (Furnham, 2003;Bartholomaeus and Strelan, 2019). This result suggests that individuals with high BJW use more of both control strategies to influence their LHS. ...
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The harshness and unpredictability of early life circumstances shape life history strategies for trade-offs between the resources devoted to somatic and reproductive efforts of individuals in the developmental process. This paper uses belief in a just world as a reflection of early environmental cues to predict an individual's life history strategies. Research has found that belief in a just world influences life history strategies through a sense of control. However, the relationship between a sense of control and a life history strategy is flawed because influencing life history strategies should be intrinsic to control strategies rather than a sense of control. A total of 408 Chinese undergraduate students completed the Personal Belief in a Just World Scale, Mini-K Scale, and Primary and Secondary Control Scale. Structural equation modeling suggested that belief in a just world can directly or indirectly influence life history strategies through primary and secondary control strategies, respectively; there was no statistical difference in the degree of influence between the two paths. These results deepen our understanding of the underlying mechanisms in the relationship between belief in a just world and life history strategies, which can be utilized to ensure a slow life history strategy among Chinese university students in the future.
... Indeed, the application of just world beliefs to explain naturalistic beliefs and judgments (such as victim-blaming) has grown exponentially (Furnham, 2003). In a review of 13 studies examining perceptions of victims, researchers found that just world beliefs predicted victim blaming for myriad of suffering: poverty, disability, accidents, and certain illnesses (Montada, 1998). ...
... Consistently, endorsement of just world beliefs is strongly associated with social and cultural backgrounds (see Furnham, 2003). Hence, interpersonal differences in just world beliefs exist. ...
... and arson (a = .70). These reliabilities fit within the range of acceptable values for the just-world belief scale (from 0.58 to 0.93; Furnham, 2003). ...
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Being a victim of a violent crime is a traumatic experience. Sexual victimization, in particular, may be powerful enough to change presumably stable worldviews like just world beliefs. Across two large samples, we examined the influence of sexual victimization on just world beliefs. Results of Study 1 ( N = 727) indicated that victims of sexual aggression had significantly lower levels of just world beliefs compared to nonvictims. Other researchers have claimed that sexual aggression is a uniquely intense traumatic event. Therefore, in a second study, we examined (a) whether just world belief endorsement was associated with the frequency of victimization, and (b) whether sexual aggression was unique in its effect on just world belief endorsement compared to other crimes such as physical assault. Results of Study 2 ( N = 2,011) indicated that multiple incidents of victimization did not meaningfully impact just world beliefs compared to a single instance and just world belief endorsement was not significantly different across victims of sexual aggression, robbery, physical assault, or arson. An exploratory analysis, however, indicated there was a significant difference in victims’ behavior such that victims of sexual aggression were the least likely to have reported the crime. We end with a discussion of how the present research can advance our understanding of just world belief ideology and discuss the practical implications for professionals working with and studying victims of violent crimes.
... These studies show that black women who are victims of sexual violence are blamed more than white women, especially when the perpetrator was white. Regarding the participant's gender, the studies show that men are more likely to blame the victim than women (Pinciotti & Orcutt, 2017), and that people with greater adherence to BJW tend to blame the victims of sexual violence more (Furnham, 2003;Strömwall et al., 2013). ...
... Thus, black victims were more often blamed, men blamed the victims more than women blamed them, and the black victims were blamed more by Fig. 1 Victim blaming in relation to skin color men than by women. In view of these findings and considering the studies that show blaming the victim is an unconscious endeavor motivated by the need to protect and/ or restore BJW (Furnham, 2003), we designed Study 2, analyzing the moderating role of BJW in the relationships found here. ...
... One of the strategies used to protect the BJW from possible threats is secondary victimization, with blaming the victim being the form most studied by area researchers (Furnham, 2003). This occurs due to the fact that, by blaming the victim for her misfortune, the individual is protecting the idea that similar events will not happen to him/her (Lerner & Simmons, 1966), thus strengthening the idea that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get (Lerner, 1980). ...
Article
Gender and skin color are recognized factors that influence social judgments. We approach this problem by proposing that the color of the victim’s skin and the sex of the observers will influence the blaming of a woman for violence she has suffered, just as the belief in a just world (BJW) will be responsible for predicting greater blaming of the victim. In Study 1 (N = 152), after manipulating the victim’s skin color, we identified that black victims were more blamed than whites and that men were blaming more than women. Study 2 (N = 234) investigated the hypothesis that BJW acts as a moderator of the relationship between the victim’s skin color, the participant’s gender, and the victim’s blame. Although the hypothetical triple interaction was not significant, the paired comparisons showed that among participants with high adherence to BJW, male participants placed more blame than female participants, and this blame was even greater in the condition in which the victim was black. These results are discussed in light of the importance of the studies on blaming women victims of sexual violence, taking into consideration a set of characteristics of the victim as well as more ideological aspects, such as the BJW.
... Perceptions of justice have been extensively researched within just world theory as both a defensive coping mechanism and as a personal resource (Furnham, 2003;Hafer & Bègue, 2005). This paper advocates for more programmatic efforts to be devoted to understanding perceptions of justice as rational reflections of individual access to justice. ...
... Existing research on belief in a just world (BJW) supports the construct of Justice Capital as a separate interpretation from the existing theoretical framework. Just world beliefs have been extensively studied as a defensive coping mechanism, a basic human need, and an individual difference (see Lerner, 1980;Furnham, 2003;Hafer & Begue, 2005;Bartholomeaus & Strelan, 2019). However, at times, BJW ratings should also be interpreted at face value, understanding that justice is not distributed equally and some worlds are, in fact, more just than others. ...
... There are many published papers on just world theory and perceptions of control. A review of research suggested that internal locus of control was the single individual difference variable that seemed to be most closely correlated with BJW (Furnham, 2003). Recent correlational research has demonstrated that BJW is positively correlated with perceptions of control Scholz & Strelan, 2021;Strelan & Callisto, 2020;Yu et al., CONCEPTUALIZING JUSTICE CAPITAL 2018). ...
Article
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Perceptions of justice have been extensively researched within just world theory as both defensive coping mechanisms and as personal resources. This paper advocates for more programmatic efforts to be devoted to understanding perceptions of justice as rational reflections of individual access to justice. Justice Capital is conceptualised here as an individual difference based on status, microsystem authorities, effort–effect pipeline, voice, and society. These dimensions can overlap and operate on both personal and systemic levels. It is a form of capital to experience the effect of one's actions, to be treated fairly by authorities, to self-advocate, and to live in a society that has a higher justice baseline. Currently, just-world theory correlational research alternates between its positive and negative effects and between viewing belief in a just world as a predictor or as an outcome. For research to move forward productively in this field, researchers must articulate and investigate when self-evaluations of justice are rational reflections of participants' individual access to justice and connect research to existing injustices. This paper points to existing evidence of a Justice Capital interpretation and suggests how this construct can advance the theory into new directions of empirical research.
... In addition, Experiment 2 further tests whether participants' own Belief in a Just World (Lerner, 1965) is influential, which is the belief that good (bad) events generally occur to good (bad) people (Furnham, 2003). This aspect fits well with the norm-violation view emphasised by the Rational Scientist account, and acquiring evidence on this strengthens the conceptual replication attempt of this experiment. ...
... For each scale, average scores were computed where all, or all but one, items had been answered (Dalbert, 1999). The scales have been found to have good validity and internal reliability and to tap discrete constructs (Dalbert, 1999;Furnham, 2003). ...
... A common strategy among defence lawyers is to demean a victim's character (e.g. by highlighting a victim's sexual history, or explicitly activating negative stereotypes related to the victim's ethnicity). The findings of Experiment 2 suggest that if victims are seen in a negative light by a jury, then jurors may perceive the actions of the accused individual as less blameworthy and less intentional (Furnham, 2003). Such assessments relating to accused persons may influence outcome verdicts. ...
Article
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The side-effect effect (SEE) demonstrates that the valence of an unintended side effect influences intentionality judgements; people assess harmful (helpful) side effects as (un)intentional. Some evidence suggests that the SEE can be moderated by factors relating to the side effect’s causal agent and to its recipient. However, these findings are often derived from between-subjects studies with a single or few items, limiting generalisability. Our two within-subjects experiments utilised multiple items and successfully conceptually replicated these patterns of findings. Cumulative link mixed models showed the valence of both the agent and the recipient moderated intentionality and accountability ratings. This supports the view that people represent and consider multiple factors of a SEE scenario when judging intentionality. Importantly, it also demonstrates the applicability of multi-vignette, within-subjects approaches for generalising the effect to the wider population, within individuals, and to a multitude of potential scenarios. For open materials, data, and code, see https://www.doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/5MGKN.
... Additionally, just world beliefs have been linked to altered risk perceptions: People with a high BJW feel less vulnerable to negative events given they perceive themselves as good (Furnham, 2003;Hafer et al., 2001;Lambert et al., 1999). Hence, they engage more in high-risk intentions and behaviors (e.g., Becker, 1974;Hafer et al., 2001). ...
... From the second perspective, social distancing can primarily be regarded as a measure of self-protection against a COVID-19 infection and therefore dependent on people's perception of their own risk of infection. Because past research indicates people high in their BJW to feel less vulnerable to negative events (e.g., Furnham, 2003;Lambert et al., 1999), they might also perceive their personal risk of a COVID-19 infection as low and engage in less social distancing (e.g., Barrios & Hochberg, 2020;Plohl & Musil, 2020;Wise et al., 2020). Contrary to the first hypothesis, we alternatively predict people's personal BJW to be negatively linked to social distancing in times of the COVID-19 pandemic (Hypothesis 3). ...
... Although there were plausible arguments to exploratorily assume mediating influences of empathy and risk perception on the relationship between personal BJW and social distancing (see the derivation of Hypothesis 4), no such mediation effects could be found. Even though past research already found BJW to be linked to risk perception (e.g., Furnham, 2003;Lambert et al., 1999;Riley & Baah-Odoom, 2012), this linkage was not evident in our data. Also empathy was not correlated with BJW; thus, undermining mediational effects of perceived infection probability and empathy on the association between personal BJW and social distancing. ...
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This study investigated whether people’s personal belief in a just world (BJW) is linked to their willingness to physically distance themselves from others during the COVID-19 pandemic. Past research found personal BJW to be positively related to prosocial behavior, justice striving, and lower risk perceptions. If social distancing reflects a concern for others, high personal BJW should predict increased interest in social distancing. If social distancing reflects a concern for one’s personal risk, high personal BJW should predict decreased interest in social distancing. Results of a pre-registered internet-based study from Germany ( N = 361) indicated that the higher people’s personal BJW, the more they generally practiced social distancing. This association still occurred when controlling for empathy, another significant predictor of social distancing. There were no mediation effects of empathy and risk perception. The findings extend knowledge on the correlates of social distancing in the COVID-19 pandemic which could be used to increase compliance among citizens.
... This belief is proposed to stem from a fundamental need to believe the world is fair, because this positive illusion acts as a resource that engenders trust, optimism and meaning in people's lives [10,11]. While most people to some degree believe that the world is just, there are individual differences in the extent to which people believe this [12]. Research also suggests that there are two separate facets to BJW, distinguished by whether experiences of (in) justice are felt for oneself (personal BJW) or for people in general (general BJW) [11,13,14]. ...
... In turn, adolescents with lower BJW may doubt that the social context is just and meaningful, may find it difficult to consider people to be trustworthy, and they may be less optimistic about their life chances, making them more susceptible to mental health problems [7,25]. Indeed, there is robust empirical evidence that adolescents with lower BJW have more mental health problems [7,12,26]. These findings suggest BJW may be a mediator of the social gradient in adolescent mental health, and this may be especially likely to be the case for subjective SES. ...
Article
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Purpose A social gradient in adolescent mental health exists: adolescents with higher socioeconomic status (SES) have fewer mental health problems than their peers with lower SES. Little is known about whether adolescents’ societal beliefs play a role in this social gradient. Belief in a just world (BJW) may be a mediator or moderator of the social gradient in adolescent mental health. Methods Using data from 848 adolescents ( M age = 17) in the Netherlands, path analyses examined whether two indicators of BJW (general and personal) mediated or moderated the associations between two indicators of SES (family affluence and perceived family wealth), and four indicators of adolescent mental health problems (emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, and peer problems). Results Adolescents with lower family affluence and lower perceived family wealth reported more emotional symptoms, and the association between perceived family wealth and emotional symptoms was mediated by lower personal and general BJW. Furthermore, higher personal BJW amplified the negative association between SES and peer problems. Conclusion This study suggests BJW may both mediate and amplify the social gradient in adolescent mental health. Adolescents’ beliefs about society may be important to include in research aimed at understanding this social gradient.
... These individual differences are also related in past research. For example, Furnham (2003) found that "the single individual difference variable that [BJW] seemed most closely correlated with was internal locus of control" (p. 797). ...
... In other words, it appears that the more an individual believes the world is fair and that people get what they deserve, the more likely they are to follow the public health guidelines. This finding supports previous research demonstrating that for events that are controllable, people with high JWB will take action to reaffirm their belief in a fair world in which there are consequences for actions (Furnham, 2003). The COVID-19 guidelines (i.e., mask wearing, social distancing) are relatively easy behaviors within one's control. ...
Article
We examined relationships between moral disengagement, locus of control, and just world beliefs and adherence to COVID-19 containment measures. We predicted that these individual differences would be more influential for adherence than beliefs about the pandemic (e.g., its origins and one's perceived susceptibility to infection). COVID-19-related measures of these three individual differences were each significantly associated with adherence even after controlling for demographics and pandemic beliefs although beliefs about the severity of the virus and the benefits of containment measures also significantly related to adherence. Beliefs were associated with the individual difference measures and political orientation. Moral disengagement, the strongest individual difference predictor, was associated with lower support for each pandemic containment precaution (e.g., mask wearing). These results can be used to frame messages to increase adherence to public health measures.
... Research from psychology provides some insight into the ways that people perceive victims of wrongdoing. Research on "victim blaming" has demonstrated that people sometimes see victims as to blame for causing their own victimization (3)(4)(5)(6). Furthermore, a body of research on "moral typecasting" has provided evidence that people can see moral "patients" (i.e., the recipients of moral action), including victims, as less agentic and more passive (7)(8)(9). ...
... Future research should also investigate how our results relate to victim blaming. There is ample evidence that people sometimes blame victims for causing their own victimization (3)(4)(5)(6). This observation is not incompatible with our findings: One could conceivably see a victim as morally good and as having contributed, causally, to their victimization. ...
Article
How do people perceive the moral character of victims? We find, across a range of transgressions, that people frequently see victims of wrongdoing as more moral than nonvictims who have behaved identically. Across 17 experiments (total n = 9676), we document this Virtuous Victim effect and explore the mechanisms underlying it. We also find support for the Justice Restoration Hypothesis, which proposes that people see victims as moral because this perception serves to motivate punishment of perpetrators and helping of victims, and people frequently face incentives to enact or encourage these “justice-restorative” actions. Our results validate predictions of this hypothesis and suggest that the Virtuous Victim effect does not merely reflect (i) that victims look good in contrast to perpetrators, (ii) that people are generally inclined to positively evaluate those who have suffered, or (iii) that people hold a genuine belief that victims tend to be people who behave morally.
... 32 Believing in a just world serves to combat the idea that one's fate is largely random and provides a feeling of self-determination and control over one's destiny. It is then no surprise that BJW has been shown to correlate with locus of control (Furnham, 2003), and to enhance mental health and self-esteem (Dalbert, 1999). The belief in self-reliance or self-sufficiency that is related to BJW may imply that those individuals who perceive less or no discrimination have a steeper value function than those who do. ...
Article
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Income comparisons are important for individual well-being. We examine the shape of the relationship between relative income and life satisfaction, and test empirically if the features of the value function of prospect theory carry over to experienced utility. We draw on a unique panel dataset for a middle-income country that allows us to work with an endogenous reference income, which differs for individuals with the same observable characteristics depending on the perception error about their relative position in the distribution. We find the value function for experienced utility to be concave for both positive and, at odds with prospect theory, also negative relative income. Loss aversion holds only for incomes that are sufficiently distant from the reference income. Our heterogeneity analysis shows that the slope of the value function is contingent on people’s personality, social beliefs, and how much they care about income comparisons.
... Individuals whose experiences and identities are inconsistent with dominant cultural values are susceptible to being stigmatized, i.e. devalued and judged as bad. Arguably, dominant cultural values, many associated with a white racial habitus (Inoue, 2015), include rugged individualism, personal responsibility and control, autonomy, selfdetermination, entrepreneurialism, personal grit and stoicism, redemption, and presumptions of a meritocratic and just world for all (Furnham, 2003). These dominant cultural values are celebrated or at least made to seem like common sense, rendering invisible the exploitative legacies connected to them, such as imperialism, settler-colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism. ...
Chapter
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Negative reactions to interpersonal violence survivors are reproduced in patterned ways across multiple social settings. This chapter proposes a framework of cultural stigma surrounding interpersonal violence, one with utility in explaining a paradoxical pattern of condemnation of survivors (relative to perpetrators) and persistent delegitimization of interpersonal violence experiences (relative to impersonal or unintentional traumas). In the proposed framework, the state of being a victim is conceptualized as inherently stigmatizing in the setting of dominant Western cultural values that uplift invulnerability and individual responsibility. Cultural stigma enables disavowal of vulnerability and mutual accountability, reproducing cultural constructions of violence that legitimize abuse. Proposed forms of cultural stigma are denial, minimization, distortion, victim-blame, and labeling. This chapter summarizes relevant research and highlights ways that psychology as a discipline has transmitted such cultural stigma. The final section considers disciplinary avenues to resist stigma, toward a cultural awakening that affirms the full humanity of survivors.
... Belief in a just world (Lerner, 1980;Lerner & Miller, 1978) articulates the argument that individuals are motivated to perceive the world in such a way that people get what they deserve. Individuals are therefore likely to see victims as deserving of the predicaments they find themselves in-though this can vary based on individual differences in belief in a just world (Furnham, 2003). Within the realm of I-O psychology, researchers have shown that individuals who had experienced organizational injustice in the past were more likely to be the targets of victim derogation by those who were evaluating them as job applicants (Skarlicki & Turner, 2014). ...
... Those with a solid belief in a just world also have a lower perception of risk and interpret events from a positive perspective, maintaining subjective well-being even when they face hardships or stressful events. They tend to believe that they do not deserve negative outcomes [25]. Many empirical studies support a positive relationship between belief in a just world and subjective well-being [26][27][28]. ...
Article
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Previous research has demonstrated that institutional trust protects subjective well-being during pandemics. However, the potential mediation mechanisms underlying this linkage remain unclear. This study constructs a mediating model to investigate the effect of institutional trust on subjective well-being and the mediating roles of belief in a just world and fear of COVID-19 in the Chinese context. To this end, we survey a sample of 881 participants. The results show that institutional trust, belief in a just world, fear of COVID-19, and subjective well-being (i.e., life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect) are significantly interrelated. The results also indicate a significant impact of institutional trust on life satisfaction, positive affect, and negative affect. Belief in a just world and fear of COVID-19, independently and in sequence, mediate the relationship between institutional trust and subjective well-being.
... The belief in a just world allows individuals to interpret unjust events as being due to external or unstable factors, playing-down the severity of the injustice and avoiding self-rumination (Dalbert, 1997;Lipkus & Siegler, 1993). Increased endorsement of the belief in a just world is also related to reduced anger during potentially anger-evoking situations (Dalbert, 2002; for reviews of the original and more recent research on the belief in a just world, see Furnham, 2003;Lerner & Miller, 1978). Little research has examined the influence of the belief in a just world and its influence in the driving environment and has mainly examined its influence on perceptions of victims of drunk-driving (Hammock & Richardson, 1993;Taylor & Kleinke, 1992). ...
Article
Driving anger and roadway aggression have previously been conceptualized using attributional theory, the theory of planned behavior, and the general aggression model (GAM) framework. The current study builds on these findings, testing the applicability of the attribution-of-blame model of perceptions of injustice and expanding existing models of retaliatory driving aggression to include unjust world beliefs and sensitivity to injustice. A sample of 269 participants from a large urban Canadian university viewed five animated driving scenarios (i.e., a queuing violation, a dangerous turn in front of oncoming traffic, selfish parking behavior, misuse of a high occupancy vehicle lane, and a driver failing to stop at a red light). Prior to viewing each scenario, a brief written description of the scenario was provided to each participant and read aloud by the experimenter. After viewing each scenario, participants completed a questionnaire regarding their attributions, emotions, and anticipated behavior in response to the animated scenario. After viewing all animated videos, participants completed a second questionnaire that assessed individual differences and demographic variables. Consistent with the GAM, structural equation and mediation analyses identified a significant path from individual differences (i.e., belief in an unjust world and driving injustice sensitivity), through internal states (i.e., perceptions of injustice and anger), to retaliatory aggressive driving. Results of this study found consistent paths between factors which were significant across all five scenarios and may therefore be generalizable to other driving situations. Other pathways were found to influence only a selection of the five scenarios, suggesting that they may be situation specific. Results provide support for possible intervention strategies that can be employed by driver education programs to reduce aggressive driving.
... Spiritual or religious beliefs may be brought into question. Lerner's (1965) theory of 'belief in a just world' (reviewed and updated in Furnham, 2003), describes the implicit assumption that most people hold that the world ultimately operates in a fair and predictable manner, with people 'getting what they deserve'. As Hollon and Garber (1988) describe, when a traumatic event challenges such pre-existing beliefs, instead of accommodating the new information, it is common instead to deny it, or 'overaccommodate' (Resick and Schnicke, 1992; by completely changing their world view e.g. to one of a completely unfair/unjust world. ...
Article
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Survivor guilt is a common experience following traumatic events in which others have died. However, little research has addressed the phenomenology of survivor guilt, nor has the issue been conceptualised using contemporary psychological models which would help guide clinicians in effective treatment approaches for this distressing problem. This paper summarises the current survivor guilt research literature and psychological models from related areas, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, moral injury and traumatic bereavement. Based on this literature, a preliminary cognitive approach to survivor guilt is proposed. A cognitive conceptualisation is described, and used as a basis to suggest potential treatment interventions for survivor guilt. Both the model and treatment strategies require further detailed study and empirical validation, but provide testable hypotheses to stimulate further research in this area. Key learning aims (1) To appreciate an overview of the current available literature on the phenomenology and prevalence of survivor guilt. (2) To understand a preliminary cognitive conceptualisation of survivor guilt. (3) To understand and be able to implement treatment recommendations for addressing survivor guilt.
... Belief in a just world enables bystanders to psychologically distance themselves from the possibility of falling victim to similar crimes by believing that heinous crimes only happen to bad people or those who deserve it. Belief in a just world thus provides a psychological buffer against potential crimes and provides onlookers with a sense of personal control over their own destiny (Furnham, 2003), albeit a false sense of control where the on-sharing of SEM is concerned. Belief in a just world has been demonstrated as a predictor of blame attribution towards victims of rape, with observers working on the assumption that victims somehow deserved the rape as a result of their own actions (Pinciotti & Orcutt, 2021;Strömwall et al., 2013;Vonderhaar & Carmody, 2015). ...
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Using video recounts from revenge porn victims, this study explores whether levels of victim blaming differs for the sharing of self- and stealth-taken sexually explicit images and videos. Building on previous work which has demonstrated victim blame for both self- and stealth generated images in occurrences of revenge porn (Zvi & Schechory-Bitton, 2020), the reported study presents an original and ecologically valid methodological approach whereby 342 (76 male, 266 female) participants (Mage = 39.27, SD = 11.70) from the UK watched videoed accounts of real experiences of falling victim to revenge porn, rather than using text based, often fictional, vignettes to attribute blame which dominate studies in this area. All data was collected in 2019. The results demonstrated that significantly more blame was assigned to victims when participants were indirectly rather than directly asked who was to blame for the occurrence of revenge porn, supporting the notion of an unconscious processing bias in attributing blame. More blame was also assigned to those victims who themselves generated the material compared to when it had been acquired without their awareness by a perpetrator, suggesting the cognitive bias to be in line with a just world hypothesis. Male participants were more likely to blame a victim than were female participants, although sex of victim and mode of shared sexually-explicit material (video or image) did not appear to affect levels of victim-blame. Findings are considered in terms of extant research and the need for future work in the area of victim blame and revenge pornography.
... Belief in a just world is defined as personal assumptions that the world is basically fair (Lerner, 1977). These beliefs provide psychological stability by recognizing the physical and social environment to which an individual belongs as orderly and stable (Lerner, 1977;Dalbert, 1999;Furnham, 2003). There may be unavoidable inequality in various areas (e.g., wealth, educational opportunities, and welfare), but responses to the unfairness vary from person to person (Nudelman and Shiloh, 2011). ...
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The purpose of this study was to verify the relationships among concealment tendencies, illness attitudes, belief in a just world, and cognitive flexibility. The participants were 418 Korean and 400 Chinese adults. We conducted correlational analysis, structural equation modeling, and verification of mediating effects. We found that cognitive flexibility–control factor fully mediated the relationship between concealment tendencies and illness attitudes for Korean participants and partially mediated the relationship for Chinese participants. The relationship between concealment tendencies and cognitive flexibility–alternatives factor differed across participants’ country of origin. For Chinese participants, cognitive flexibility–alternatives fully mediated the relationship between concealment tendencies and belief in a just world. These differences might stem from the countries’ different social systems, values, and attitudes. Finally, we discuss this study’s implications and limitations.
... Furthermore, people's well-being greatly benefits when they pursue their goals for intrinsic reasons (e.g., as an expression of their personal identity or because they are convinced that something is important) rather than for extrinsic reasons (e.g., because somebody else asked them to do it, because they feel that it is expected of them, or because they would feel guilty if they did not pursue it) or without any significant motivation (Sheldon, 2014;Sheldon & Elliot, 1999 There are many psychological obstacles that stand in the way of effective well-doing (Caviola, Schubert, & Greene, in press; II.6). One of these obstacles is that motivated reasoning (Kunda, 1990) often leads people to construct irrational excuses for letting other people suffer rather than helping them, such as believing that everyone who suffers must have done something bad to deserve it (Bénabou & Tirole, 2006;Furnham, 2003). People are also held back by inflated views of how good they are (C. ...
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People's intentional pursuit of prosocial goals and values (i.e., well-doing) is critical to the flourishing of humanity in the long run. But some of the most socially beneficial pursuits are neglected because they are unintuitive. To choose such pursuits people have to apply critical thinking and far-sighted decision-making in the service of the long-term flourishing of humanity. We refer to using reason and evidence to do more good in better ways as effective well-doing. To promote effective well-doing, we need to better understand its determinants and psychological mechanisms, as well as the barriers to effective well-doing and how they can be overcome. In this article, we introduce a taxonomy of different forms of well-doing and introduce a conceptual model of the cognitive mechanisms of effective well-doing. We view effective well-doing as the upper end of a moral continuing whose lower half comprises behaviors that are harmful to humanity (ill-doing), and we argue that the capacity for effective well-doing has to be developed through personal growth. Research on these phenomena has so far been scattered across numerous disconnected literatures from multiple disciplines. To bring these communities together, we call for the establishment of a transdisciplinary research field focussed on understanding and promoting effective well-doing and personal growth and understanding and reducing ill-doing. We define this research field in terms of its goals and questions. We review what is already known about these questions in different disciplines and argue that laying the scientific foundation for promoting effective well-doing is one of the most valuable contributions that the behavioral sciences can make in the 21st century.
... People who are informed about EDs are individuals who have knowledge about the disease, its symptoms, and/or its treatments without necessarily being familiar with it [47]. People who believe in a just world represent individuals who think that we get what we deserve, and we deserve what we get [48]. Studying the disparities in ED stigma among these groups would be helpful to determine which populations require anti-stigma intervention, and to guide the content of these programs (e.g., increasing knowledge, decreasing belief in a just world, etc.). ...
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Research about stigmatization in eating disorders (EDs) has highlighted stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination against people with EDs, as well as their harmful effects on them, including self-stigma and a difficult recovery process. Whereas a recent review focused on the consequences of ED stigma, our work aimed to provide a broader synthesis of ED stigma, including its consequences, but also its content and distribution. More precisely, we focused on three EDs—namely, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Based on a systematic search of four major databases in psychology, the present scoping review includes 46 studies published between 2004 and 2021. We did not conduct any quality assessment of the studies included, because our aim was to provide a wide-ranging overview of these topics instead of an appraisal of evidence answering a precise research question. The review confirmed the existence of a common ED stigma: all individuals affected by EDs reviewed here were perceived as responsible for their situation, and elicited negative emotions and social distance. However, our review also depicted a specific stigma content associated with each ED. In addition, the demographic characteristics of the stigmatizing individuals had a notable influence on the extent of ED stigma: men, young adults, and low-income individuals appeared to be the most stigmatizing toward individuals with EDs. It is important to note that ED stigma had a negative effect on individuals’ eating disorders, psychological wellbeing, and treatment-seeking behavior. There is an urgent need for further research on the adverse effects of ED stigma and its prevention.
... Despite media and research attention specific to victim blaming in the context of sexual violence, a parsimonious explanation for the current and past findings (Felson & Palmore, 2018) is that victim blaming has a common general psychological process (e.g., hindsight bias and just world beliefs; Furnham, 2003;Roese & Vohs, 2012), regardless of victimization type, rather than a basis in crime-specific stereotypes or assumptions. Therefore, research aimed at understanding common mechanisms of victim blame appears warranted. ...
Article
Although victim blaming in the context of sexual assault is often emphasized, little research has compared rates of victim blaming following sexual assault relative to other forms of victimization. This research investigated whether there is a crime-specific bias toward blaming victims of sexual assault. Victim blaming was assessed via different methods from the observer perspective in vignette-based studies, as well as survivors' accounts of social reactions they received. In Study 1, participants were asked to rate how much the survivor was to blame in three vignettes, each with a different randomized crime outcome: rape, physical assault, or theft. Study 2 assessed blame for a vignette that either ended in rape or theft, via a causal attribution statement. Study 3 asked interpersonal trauma survivors who had experienced at least two forms of victimization (i.e., sexual assault, physical assault, or theft) to report the social reactions they received following disclosure of each of these crimes. Across all three studies, victim blaming occurred following multiple forms of victimization and there was no evidence of a particular bias toward blaming survivors of sexual assault more so than other crimes. However, results of Study 3 highlight that, following sexual assault, survivors receive more silencing and stigmatizing reactions than they experienced after other crimes. Interpersonal traumas (i.e., sexual or physical assault) also resulted in more egocentric responses compared to theft. Altogether, there does not appear to be a crime-specific bias for victim blaming; however, crime-specific bias is apparent for some other, potentially understudied, social reactions. Implications of these findings highlight the value of victim blaming education and prevention efforts through trauma-informed services and outreach following victimization. Furthermore, service providers and advocates might especially seek to recognize and prevent silencing and stigmatizing reactions following sexual assault disclosures.
... This is important, because although many people in everyday life and workplaces will acknowledge that 'everyone makes mistakes', we are biased cognitively to assume that bad things (i.e. errors and associated adverse outcomes) happen to bad peoplethe so-called 'just world hypothesis' (see Furnham 2003 for a review; also Reason 2000). Similarly, the 'causality credo' (Hollnagel 2014) is the idea that for every accident there must be a cause, and generally, a bad one (as bad causes precede bad consequences), that these bad causes can be searched back until a 'root cause' (or set of causes) can be identified, and that all accidents are preventable by finding and treating these causes. ...
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This paper reviews the key perspectives on human error and analyses the core theories and methods developed and applied over the last 60 years. These theories and methods have sought to improve our understanding of what human error is, and how and why it occurs, to facilitate the prediction of errors and use these insights to support safer work and societal systems. Yet, while this area of Ergonomics and Human Factors (EHF) has been influential and long standing, the benefits of the ‘human error approach’ to understanding accidents and optimising system performance have been questioned. This state of science review analyses the construct of human error within EHF. It then discusses the key conceptual difficulties the construct faces in an era of systems EHF. Finally, a way forward is proposed to prompt further discussion within the EHF community. Practitioner statement: This state-of-science review discusses the evolution of perspectives on human error as well as trends in the theories and methods applied to understand, prevent and mitigate error. It concludes that, although a useful contribution has been made, we must move beyond a focus on individual error to systems failure to understand and optimise whole systems.
... Unexpected and seemingly senseless events (e.g., deadly violence) may shake one's belief in a just world (e.g., Lodewijkx et al. 2001 ). Th is in turn has been linked to an (over)corrective eff ort among BJW people, which correlates with more punitive orientations for a perpetrator ( Lodewijkx et al. 2001 ;Wu and Cohen 2017 ) and actively extending blame to individuals other than the perpetrator ( Furnham 2003 ). Indeed, the world may become just again if perpetrators are punished commensurately with their actions (without consideration of their circumstances) and the event was caused by an identifi able and manageable source (e.g., lack of parental intervention; intoxication). ...
Article
This article presents an analysis of social media posts by laypersons regarding a finding of Not Criminally Responsible on Account of Mental Disorder (NCRMD) for Matthew de Grood after a high-profile trial in 2016 in Canada. From trial to verdict, a total of 4,991 tweets relating to the case were harvested from Twitter. Qualitative content analysis of 365 tweets by laypersons revealed three themes – largely equating the insanity defense to a legal loophole: (1) The case exemplified a misappropriation of the legal defense (e.g., due to privilege, due to the seriousness of the offence); (2) The perception existed that the NCRMD defence is a miscarriage of justice; (3) Many comments reflected a search for answers and justice. These embodied the ABCs of NCRMD: advocating, blaming, and clarifying. A need for public education about the forensic psychiatric system is evident; misconceptions about the insanity defence appeared pervasive. Further research could focus on the efficacy of knowledge translation over new media channels, such as Twitter.
... 57 Cultural and other injustices interact to marginalize systematically oppressed members of society, including in the pain community. Evidence for the power of cultural ideology is reflected in findings of harsher social judgements associated with higher just-world beliefs 33 and greater interpersonal attributions of personal responsibility for pain among overweight women. 101 They are also reflected in erroneous (but strikingly persistent) medical beliefs that Black people do not "feel" as much physical pain. ...
... Although we examine these mediators both separately and simultaneously, it is important to note that they might be conceptually related to each other. For instance, the belief in a just world-a view about how society works-is related to beliefs about agency and locus of control(Furnham, 2003). Similarly, a personal sense of control is associated with the tendency to make dispositional (vs. ...
Article
Why do people view economic success as zero-sum? In seven studies (including a large, nationally representative sample of more than 90,000 respondents from 60 countries), we explore how personal relative deprivation influences zero-sum thinking-the belief that one person's gains can only be obtained at other people's expense. We find that personal relative deprivation fosters a belief that economic success is zero-sum, and that this is true regardless of participants' household income, political ideology, or subjective social class. Moreover, in a large and preregistered study, we find that the effect of personal relative deprivation on zero-sum thinking is mediated by lay perceptions of society. The more people see themselves as having been unfairly disadvantaged relative to others, the more they view the world as unjust and economic success as determined by external forces beyond one's control. In turn, these cynical views of society lead people to believe that economic success is zero-sum. We discuss the implications of these findings for research on social comparisons, the distribution of resources, and the psychological consequences of feeling personally deprived. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Coaches and others will often try to enhance confidence and achievement motivation in athletes by suggesting that if they work hard and prepare well success will inevitably follow. Such behavior is a version of the well-documented 'just world fallacy' (see, for example, Furnham, 2003), which is a bias leading people to believe that individuals' outcomes typically, on average, lead to fair and 'just' consequencesi.e., "people get what they deserve." Although well meaning, such suggestions are dangerous due to the potential psychological implications if success does not follow, as will often be the case in such a complex environment where there is no simple, guaranteed link between hard work and success. ...
... Inspired by this view, we posit that Chinese people who have experienced upward social mobility are generally more likely than those of the origin class to be positive about the redistributive fairness and to defend the political system that has produced their success (Day & Fiske, 2017). According to the "belief in a just world" theory, people need to believe in a just world (BJW) where everyone gets what they deserve (Furnham, 2003), and because of this, perception of social fairness and trustworthiness of public institutions could affect people's evaluations or attitudes toward society (Zhang & Zhang, 2015). While people suffer greatly when faced with social injustice and poor governance, individuals high in BJW tend to ruminate less about negative life events and maintain their SWB (Dzuka & Dalbert, 2006). ...
Article
Since Sorokin's seminal work, numerous studies have examined the correlation between upward social mobility and subjective well-being, and they have generated mixed results. One commonality of the existing studies is that most of them have not taken endogeneity issues into account. We exploit plausibly exogenous, within-province, cross-cohort variation in peers to deal with the selection into perceptions of upward social mobility (PUSM). Using nationally representative data from the 2019 Chinese Social Survey, we find that PUSM has a significant positive impact on life satisfaction. An investigation into the mechanisms reveals that PUSM leads to an increased perception of social fairness and political trust. As a unique contribution , we also investigate the moderating role of Internet use, and find that while Internet use significantly attenuates the positive impact of PUSM on life satisfaction, this moderating effect manifests primarily among males, urban residents, and younger adults. Last, the sensitivity analysis using a bounding approach suggests that our main results are robust to the potential selection on unobserved factors.
... Moreover, our results supported our second hypothesis that belief in a just world represents a potential underlying mechanism that could partially explain how relative deprivation is linked with adolescent life satisfaction. Studies on socially disadvantaged groups and on the general public indicate that belief in a just world promotes mental health (Dalbert, 2002;Furnham, 2003;Khera et al., 2014;Wang et al., 2021). Belief in a just world is particularly important for disadvantaged people (Donat et al., 2016). ...
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With the COVID-19 pandemic, life satisfaction among college students has become a key issue at universities and in society. The current study explores the effects of belief in a just world and resilience on the relationship between relative deprivation and life satisfaction. A total of 787 college students from universities in China completed online questionnaires. Results showed that relative deprivation was negatively correlated with life satisfaction. Belief in a just world and resilience separately mediated the relationship between relative deprivation and life satisfaction. Moreover, a serial mediating effect of belief in a just world and resilience was observed between relative deprivation and life satisfaction. These findings suggest that relative deprivation may impair individuals' beliefs in a just world. Moreover, less belief in a just world may lower resilience and consequently decrease life satisfaction. This study enriches the research field of relative deprivation theory in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provides a new interpretation and intervention perspective for improving college students' life satisfaction.
... The personal resource hypothesis of just-world belief holds that just-world belief is a positive psychological resource, which plays a role in individual cognitive bias (Wu and Li, 2014). Many studies have linked belief in a just world to positive mental health, indicating that belief in a just world is a positive and robust coping mechanism (Furnham, 2003). People with a firm belief in a just world are prone to rationalize their experiences and, as a result, respond to life's problems in a more positive way and are more likely to make sustained efforts toward achieving their goals (Kong et al., 2021). ...
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Mental toughness is an essential component of adolescent athletes' athletic careers and lives. Evidence supports the positive effect of belief in a just world on individual psychological development, but the relationship between belief in a just world and mental toughness of adolescents has not been tested. In order to determine the influencing factors of mental toughness and explore effective strategies for improving adolescent athletes' mental toughness, this study introduced just world and life meaning theories to explore the relationship between belief in a just world, meaning in life (search for meaning/presence of meaning), and mental toughness. Based on the data of 1,544 adolescent athletes from Yantai and Qingdao in Shandong Province, China, we tested a parallel mediation model that considered the search for meaning and presence of meaning as mediators. The results were predicted as follows: there is a significant positive correlation between belief in a just world and mental toughness, while the relationship between belief in a just world and mental toughness was partially mediated by the search for meaning and the presence of meaning in life. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the presence of meaning played a more influential role than the search for meaning. The results suggest that belief in a just world is connected to the mental toughness of adolescent athletes via the meaning in life. Therefore, maintaining and promoting the level of belief in a just world and enhancing the sense of meaning in life may be an effective strategy to develop the mental toughness of adolescent athletes. The findings of this study can help develop the mental toughness of adolescent athletes and help them maintain a high level of subjective and objective performance under the pressure of training and competition, providing practical guidance for coaches and administrators in the training of adolescent athletes.
... The belief in a just world is defined as the belief that world is fair and that people get what they deserve (Furnham, 2003). This belief may not be accurate, but it plays an important role in coping with stress, as believing in a fair world makes events more predictable and the world more orderly. ...
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The self-perception of prejudice and discrimination (SPPD) is a global assessment of the degree to which individuals see themselves as the target of negative attitudes and behaviors because of their social group. This study sought to create a scale to measure SPPD. Evidence of validity was sought based on content, structure, and relationships with other variables. The scale was applied to 571 adults strongly identifed with their social groups. A single-factor structure was found, with satisfactory internal consistency and adequate discrimination and threshold parameters. Correlations with other variables were found as theoretically expected. For example, SPPD correlated positively with neuroticism and negatively with belief in a just world. Finally, we found that people from groups with low social status had higher levels of SPPD compared to groups with high social status. The set of evidence shows a different-groups-oriented short-form scale with satisfactory psychometric properties to measure SPPD.
... Despite this, we propose that people might find it amusing when targets with strong BJW suffer misfortunes. We reasoned 2 We note that although internal locus of control (LOC) is positively associated with personal BJW (Furnham, 2003;Lipkus, 1991), the two constructs are distinct. High internal LOC entails attributing the cause or control of outcomes in one's life to oneself (Spector, 1982), whereas strong personal BJW regards believing that events in one's own life are just and fair (Dalbert, 1999). ...
Article
When witnessing misfortunes, people sometimes react with schadenfreude—malicious pleasure at another's suffering. Previous research suggests that schadenfreude is elicited for competitors and envied targets, or when misfortunes seem deserved. Six experiments (five pre-registered, N-total = 3324) support a novel hypothesis that perceivers feel greater schadenfreude for social targets who endorse a strong general belief in a just world (BJW), even when misfortunes occur outside of the typical conditions that elicit schadenfreude. Experiments 1–2 show that people feel schadenfreude at the accidental misfortune of a person who expresses strong BJW, based in part on their misfortune seeming more deserved. Experiment 3 demonstrates the same effect for a wealthy, strong-BJW target who suffers a life-changing misfortune. In Experiment 4, we demonstrate that perceivers infer stronger BJW from a wealthy (vs. poor) person and that these inferences lead to increased perceptions that the misfortune was deserved, resulting in greater schadenfreude. Finally, Experiments 5–6 show that the effect of target BJW on schadenfreude via perceived deservingness is moderated by a target's financial status, such that endorsing strong BJW is particularly consequential for wealthy and middle-income targets. We conclude that even when people are not responsible for their predicaments, perceivers believe the misfortunes of people with strong just-world beliefs are more fitting and therefore derive more pleasure at their expense. The current research builds on and extends both schadenfreude and just-world belief literatures by documenting a unique antecedent of schadenfreude based on perceivers' inferences or knowledge regarding how someone generally views their world.
... According to one cognitive theory of the development of PTSD, adherence to "just world beliefs" (i.e., beliefs that the world is fair and that people get what they deserve; (Lerner, 1980)) are violated by innocent victimhood; efforts to maintain belief in a just and fair world therefore lead to self-blame, contributing to risk for PTSD (Resick & Schnicke, 1993). These beliefs about one's own blameworthiness may also extend to others: indeed, prior research shows that adherence to just world beliefs is positively associated with perceptions of victim blame (Furnham, 2003;Strömwall et al., 2013). Further research is needed to explore the pathways from just word beliefs to self and other blame. ...
Article
To date, research on social reactions to dating and sexual violence (DSV) disclosure has largely neglected the perspective of disclosure recipients. Moreover, few studies have explored disclosure recipients’ perceptions of the victim and perceptions of their own effectiveness in helping as well as the correlates of these perceptions. The purpose of this study was to address these gaps in the literature. Participants were 783 college students (73.0% female) who reported receiving a DSV disclosure in the past 6 months. Participants who provided more negative social reactions to victim disclosures were less likely to empathize with the victim and more likely to feel victim blame/burdensomeness and confusion/ineffectiveness in their responses. Conversely, those providing more positive social reactions were more likely to empathize with the victim and were less likely to report victim blame/burdensomeness and confusion/ineffectiveness. Further, recipients with a DSV victimization history were more likely to report empathy for the victim. Being a man and having higher post-traumatic stress symptoms were associated with greater victim blame/burdensomeness, while the victim approaching the recipient to disclose and DSV experiences that occurred long ago were associated with lower victim blame/burdensomeness. Finally, depressive symptoms, receiving disclosures from a stranger/casual friend, and less frequent discussion about the incident were significantly associated with increased confusion/ineffectiveness. These findings suggest that perceptions of the victim and helping effectiveness, and factors associated with them, may be promising targets of programs seeking to reduce negative and increase positive social reactions to DSV disclosures.
... Hence, generally speaking, bad deeds are "punished" with suffering while good deeds are "rewarded" with benefits. The preceding belief contradicts what is observed empirically (Lerner, 1980;Furnham, 2003;Hafer and Bègue, 2005;Oppenheimer 2005;Johnson, 2016: 98-137). ...
Article
In his influential work on the cognitive science of religion ( CSR ), Pascal Boyer argues that the spread of religious ideas involves a tradeoff between their “intuitiveness” and their interest-provokingness/memorability (i.e.,their capacity to provoke interest and be remembered). For Boyer, religious ideas are “intuitive” insofar as they are easy to understand and learn. However, other CSR studies suggest that religious ideas are “intuitive” insofar as they are easy to believe. In analyzing the spread of religious ideas, no study has considered the tradeoff between interest-provokingness/memorability and intuitiveness in the sense of being easy to believe. The present article takes up this task by considering several religious concepts that are intuitively easy to believe (e.g., immortal souls, spirit beings, a Creator God, a just world). It is argued that, in typical religions, such concepts are incorporated into myths. Through incorporation, these concepts lose some of their intuitive believability but gain interest-provokingness/memorability.
... There is much more psychological evidence for decisive impacts on human conduct, which we oftentimes do not cite as reasons, such as the influence of implicit just world beliefs on the tendency to blame victims (Furnham, 2003;Hafer & Bègue, 2005;Lerner, 1980), the influence of existential and epistemic motives on political opinions (Jost, 2017;Jost et al., 2017;Jost, 2018;Jost et al., 2003), or the influence of people's striving for a positive self-image on their justification of meat consumption (Bastian & Loughnan, 2017;Timm, 2016). However, the basic pattern should be clear by now. ...
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In this article, I argue for four theses. First, libertarian and compatibilist accounts of moral responsibility agree that the capability of practical reason is the central feature of moral responsibility. Second, this viewpoint leads to a reasons-focused account of human behavior. Examples of human action discussed in debates about moral responsibility suggest that typical human actions are driven primarily by the agent’s subjective reasons and are sufficiently transparent for the agent. Third, this conception of self-transparent action is a questionable idealization. As shown by psychological research on self-assessment, motivated reasoning, and terror management theory, humans oftentimes have only a limited understanding of their conduct. Self-deception is rather the rule than the exception. Fourth, taking the limited self-transparency of practical reason seriously leads to a socially contextualized conception of moral responsibility.
... BJW is considered an individual difference that is related tobut distinct fromother personality characteristics (Nudelman, 2013). There exist a multitude of self-report measurements of BJW from different dimensions and aspects (Furnham, 2003). BJW has been assessed as a unidimensional construct (Lipkus, 1991;Rubin & Peplau, 1973, 1975, separately for the self and for others (Lipkus et al., 1996), concerning specific beliefs regarding immanent and ultimate justice (Maes, 1998) and addressing procedural and distributive justice (Lucas et al., 2007). ...
Article
In this research, we propose that belief in a just world (BJW) can be divided into two distinct beliefs: one addressing the notion that efforts are rewarded, that is, effort-based BJW, and another maintaining that the valence associated with moral character leads to particular consequences, that is, valence-based BJW (e.g., good people are rewarded and bad people are punished). We used culturally relevant proverbs to design measures in German and Chinese. Samples of college students and working adults from both countries were collected to assess the reliability, factor structure, validity, and the nomological consistency of the newly developed measures. Both measures demonstrated strong evidence of the existence of and distinction between effort- and valence-based BJW, and they displayed unique patterns in predicting different variables beyond the effect of personal BJW and BJW for others, which may elucidate the precise justice beliefs related to different phenomena.
... It is also possible that other system justifying beliefs (e.g., Social Dominance Orientation (SDO)- Pratto et al., 1994; Belief in a Just World (BJW)- Furnham, 2003) predict COVID-19 reactions. In fact, Jost et al., (2003a) report significant correlations between several system justifying ideologies including ESJ, SDO, Power Distance Belief, and BJW, among others. ...
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An ongoing debate in the United States relating to COVID-19 features the purported tension between containing the coronavirus to save lives or opening the economy to sustain livelihoods, with ethical overtones on both sides. Proponents of opening the economy argue that sustaining livelihoods should be prioritized over virus containment, with ethicists asking, "What about the risk to human life?" Defendants of restricting the spread of the virus endorse saving lives through virus containment but contend with the ethical concern "What about people's livelihoods and individual freedoms?" A commonly held belief is that political ideology drives these differential preferences: liberals are more focused on saving lives, whereas conservatives favor sustaining livelihoods with no additional government intervention in the free-market economy. We examine these lay beliefs among US residents in four studies and find that economic system justification (ESJ), an ideology that defends the prevailing economic system when under threat, is a reliable psychological predictor beyond political ideology. Specifically, compared to those who scored low on ESJ, people who scored high on ESJ judged China as more justified in downplaying the spread of virus to protect its interest in the global free-market economy, supported in-person over online learning, viewed shelter in place as less desirable, and perceived the opening of the Texas economy as more legitimate. We also find that multiple psychological mechanisms might be at work-resistance to market interventions, perceived legitimacy of opening the economy, perceived seriousness of the health crisis, and violation of human rights. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10551-022-05091-4.
Article
Background: The negative consequences of job loss on financial and psychological quality of life have been well documented. Objective: This study evaluated the level of unemployed individuals' embitterment and the mechanism by which negative life experiences increase embitterment by lowering the belief in a just world (BJW). Methods: A survey was administered to 1,074 unemployed Korean adults who visited a regional Center for Employment and Welfare. Question items included the Korean version of posttraumatic embitterment disorder (PTED) self-rating scale, the BJW (personal and general) scale, negative life events, and sociodemographic characteristics. Results: Only 45.9% of the participants were categorized as being in a 'normal state,' indicating that many of the unemployed were emotionally embittered. There was a positive direct effect of an increase in negative life events on embitterment. Negative life events also significantly and indirectly affected embitterment through personal BJW. Conclusions: Embitterment was prevalent among the unemployed participants and embitterment was a reactive emotion following personal downgrading, not so much related to conditions in the world at large. Thus, we recommend developing a screening program to detect extreme embitterment and an interventional program to help people better cope with emotional stress due to job loss. Efforts should be made to restore their violated expectation and trust that they would be treated in a just and fair way.
Article
People view addiction as a source of diminished free will and moral responsibility. Yet, people are also sensitive to the personal histories of moral actors, including, perhaps, the way by which people became addicted. Across two studies (N = 806), we compare people’s moral intuitions about cases in which the actor becomes addicted by force or by choice. We find that perceptions of reduced free will partially mediate an association between choice (vs. no choice) in addiction and moral blame for a bad act (Study 1). We replicate this pattern and show that blame judgments are stronger when the bad act is related (vs. unrelated) to obtaining the addictive substance (Study 2). Our work is novel in demonstrating that lay people evince relatively nuanced intuitions about the role of free will in addiction and morality—they track direct and indirect paths to choices when making free will and blame judgments.
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We survey the literature on preferences for redistribution. We discuss different ways the literature has measured these preferences and review literature on the different determinants of preferences for redistribution. These range from institutions and demographic factors to fairness views and social preferences. Income inequality is, perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most important determinants of preferences for redistribution. While our survey is largely focused on the economics literature, we also review some work from political science, sociology, and psychology.
Chapter
Nach einem Abriss über die Psychologie der Gerechtigkeit mit ihren Gerechtigkeitsdimensionen wird das emotionale Erleben von Ungerechtigkeit in den Fokus gerückt. Dieses Erleben wird durch moralbezogene Emotionen mit Empörung als emotionalem Leitindikator angezeigt, durch Gerechtigkeitsdispositionen beeinflusst und durch den Scope of Justice begrenzt. Dabei beschreibt der Scope of Justice die individuellen Grenzen der Gültigkeit von Gerechtigkeitsansprüchen, -normen und ‐überzeugungen, die wir wie ein imaginäres Band um bestimmte Entitäten ziehen. Ungerechtigkeitserleben ist eine wichtige Triebfeder menschlichen Handelns und bildet zugleich den Kern vieler Konflikte. Der reflexive Umgang mit erlebter Ungerechtigkeit dient daher der Konfliktlösung. Dazu ist im jeweiligen Einzelfall zu klären, auf welchen individuellen Annahmen und Urteilen das Ungerechtigkeitserleben basiert. Dies ist eine zentrale Komponente für die Konfliktlösung und ist zugleich eine zentrale Kompetenz, um Empörung zu dämpfen und Verständnis füreinander zu stärken. Wissen aus der empirischen Gerechtigkeitsforschung bietet dazu die notwendige Grundlage.
Article
Children's moral judgments of resource distributions as having “fair” or “unfair” origins play an important role in early social cognition. What factors shape these judgments? The present study advances research on this question in two primary ways: First, while prior work has typically assigned children to an advantaged or disadvantaged position in an experimental setting, here we also investigated how relative objective and subjective socioeconomic status (OSS and SSS) predicted children's judgments. Second, while prior work has asked children to judge distributions with known origins, here we presented children with novel and causally-ambiguous distributions, thereby simulating children's initial encounter of resource distributions in the social world. We assessed participants’ (n = 113 6- to 9-year-olds) OSS and SSS and then introduced them to a machine that distributed Skittles on an unknown basis. Participants received half as many, twice as many, or the same number of Skittles as a peer in three between-subjects conditions, and then rated the machine's fairness. Results revealed that children who rated their families as wealthier relative to their neighborhoods (higher SSS) rated the machine as more fair. However, children from families that were actually wealthier relative to their neighborhoods (higher OSS) were more likely to rate the disadvantage-giving machine as unfair. Together, results represent the first evidence that objective and subjective socioeconomic status shape children's moral judgments of resource distributions, consistent with evidence that these two forms of socioeconomic status have unique impacts on adults’ judgments of inequality. Implications for moral and social development are discussed. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
Article
Despite considerable attention being paid to the lack of diversity in orthopaedic surgery over the last decade, there has been very little actual change in the racial and gender demographics. This article discusses mechanisms for improving the diversity of interested programs, including reviewing potential barriers to racial and gender-based diversity programs.
Chapter
This chapter delves into control, free will, attributional errors, judgement and punishment—major themes of Oedipus Rex. Through the actions of Oedipus and other characters, the chapter demonstrates confusions and delusions that people still hold about will, 25 centuries on from Sophocles’ exploration of these themes. The chapter examines Sophocles’ ingenious trick, used in Oedipus Rex: the same crime is unwittingly judged differently by the same judge (Oedipus) every time his perspective changes. These judgements are used to demonstrate the inherent flaws in the justice process. The chapter concludes that in the Genomic Era, we can use our understanding of the human behaviour to improve our judgements and avoid tragedies experienced by characters of Sophocles’ immortal plays.
Article
The current qualitative study sought to obtain an in-depth understanding of how Arab-Americans conceptualize perceived injustice concerning their chronic low back pain (CLBP) by reflecting on the Injustice Experience Questionnaire (IEQ). Twelve Arab-American adults with CLBP were recruited from a metropolitan area in Alabama using a purposive sampling technique. Participants took part in individual, face-to-face, semi-structured interviews reflecting on each statement from the IEQ. Descriptive data analysis was generated for demographic and pain variables. Directed content analysis was conducted to identify themes and sub-themes. ‘Blame and unfairness’ and ‘severity and irreparability of loss,’ the two established theoretical factors comprising pain-related injustice appraisal were used as predominant themes. Acceptance emerged as an inductive theme with the following sub-themes: positive appraisal and resilience, attempts to reduce pain, religious values and fate, and belief that everything happening for a reason. The influence of religion was noted across all themes. The current pilot findings suggest that Arabic culture, heavily infused with Islamic beliefs, influences how Arab-Americans conceptualize pain-related injustice appraisals. Additional exploration of the cultural appropriateness of the IEQ among individuals of Arab background is needed to further elaborate on the subject of faith and religious belief suggested by the current study. Perspective: Although the study findings largely reflected established injustice literature constructs, several emergent themes regarding pain-related injustice appraisal were influenced by the participants’ culture and religious beliefs. These findings may indicate that specific psychotherapeutic approaches that have been proven effective among some groups may not function similarly in other populations.
Article
Background Chinese parents and students, especially senior high school students, attach great importance to academic performance. Some studies have confirmed that childhood neglect is related to academic performance. However, the internal mechanism is relatively underexplored. Objective Guided by life course theory and bioecological theory, this study examined the relationship between childhood neglect and academic performance using a serial mediation model that included belief in a just world (PBJW) and academic resilience as hypothesized mediators. Methods A sample of 614 tenth grade students (297 males and 307 females, and 10 who did not report their sex; Mage = 15.75 years old, SD = 0.71 years old) completed questionnaires regarding demographics, childhood neglect, PBJW, academic resilience, and academic performance. Results After demographic covariates were controlled for, the results revealed that: (a) childhood neglect was negatively associated with academic performance; (b) PBJW and academic resilience mediated the link between childhood neglect and academic performance in a parallel fashion; and (c) PBJW and academic resilience also mediated the link between childhood neglect and academic performance in a sequential fashion. Conclusions Childhood neglect is negatively related to adolescent academic performance, and the relation is mediated by PBJW and academic resilience both parallelly and sequentially.
Article
Popular sayings express some cultural truth and indicate how individuals are integrated with their social environment. We have proposed that some popular sayings express belief in a just world (BJW) and so they can be a good measure of this belief. We conducted five studies in which we developed a new scale based on the idea that endorsing such popular sayings can measure individual differences in expressing BJW. In studies 1 and 2, we developed a scale of the BJW based on popular sayings (BJWPS). We analyzed its factorial validity by showing that these sayings share the same basic idea: the expression of belief in a just world. Study 3a addressed the convergent validity of the BJWPS, since it correlated positively with other BJW scales and went further by showing their incremental validity by predicting secondary victimization. In addition, Study 3b examined the discriminant validity between the BJWPS and individuals' attitudes regarding an unvictimized target. In Study 4, we experimentally addressed the predictive validity of the BJWPS in the context of victimization. In summary, the results we presented in the studies provide evidence of validity and reliability in using the popular sayings proposed to measure BJW.
Article
Existing research has shown that a belief in karma may negatively affect luxury consumption because people may avoid “sinful” consumption of expensive products as a result of karmic investment. In this research, we examine the role of karmic beliefs on luxury consumption that individuals may contend is a form of justification. We show that karmic beliefs lead to higher purchase intention of luxury goods by consumers (Study 1), and this effect is mediated by belief in a just world (BJW) (Study 2). We also demonstrate an important boundary condition of promotion focus between karmic beliefs and BJW (Study 3). Our research provides an alternative perspective to investigate the impact of karmic beliefs and the justification mechanism in luxury consumption.
Chapter
In this chapter, we introduce key research on social justice from an interdisciplinary social scientific perspective, focusing on questions of what (distributive justice), how (procedural justice) and who (recognition and scope). After discussing seminal theories on distributive justice (i.e., equity theory and relative deprivation), we introduce the distinction between three justice principles (equity, equality, need). We then consider central studies of procedural justice on fair process and due consideration effects. Subsequently, justice as recognition and the scope of justice are discussed as important additional forms of justice. We then shift focus towards two theories that help explain why people sometimes justify injustice: just-world theory and system justification theory, showing how striving for justice and the existence of injustice can be reconciled and at what cost.
Article
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The purpose of the study was to validate the Korean version of the Transgender Attitudes and Beliefs Scale (K-TABS). First, the K-TABS items were translated and retranslated. Next, expert consultation resulted in the modification or removal of some items. An exploratory factor analysis was then conducted with 300 adults. The result revealed a 3-factor structure with 22 items. The factors were: Interpersonal Comfort, Sex/Gender Belief and Human Value. Confirmatory analysis, reliability analysis, and validity analysis were conducted with 285 adults. The confirmatory analysis confirmed the 3-factor, 22-item model. Internal consistency was .96. Convergent validity, criterion validity, and discriminant validity were verified through the analysis of correlations with other scales. Additionally, incremental validity was verified through hierarchical analysis. The significance and limitations of this study, and directions for future research are presented.
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Examined the belief in a just wold theory and the difference between immanent justice and ultimate justice. Belief in immanent justice is defined along the lines of J. Piaget's observations as the direct and just payment for previous actions. Belief in ultimate justice is connected with religious doctrines and is therefore based on the promise of higher justice to compensate for the injustice on Earth. 326 participants (15-66 years old) completed a questionnaire on their beliefs in justice and attitudes toward cancer. Results show that there is a differentiation between 4 justice belief factors: (1) belief in immanent justice, (2) general belief in a just world, (3) belief in ultimate justice, and (4) belief in an unjust world. Immanent justice is associated with accusations, blame, and acceptance of sanctions against victims. In contrast, the belief in ultimate justice predominately leads to positive attitudes toward adaptive processes such as the ability to find sense and meaning in severe illness, optimism, and confidence in coping with severe illness.
Article
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Reanalyzed the data by D. J. Harper et al (see record 1991-29224-001) using Just World Scale totals gathered from 89 adults (aged 18–72 yrs). More low than high Just World believers agreed that Third World poverty was due to exploitation, war, and world economic systems. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
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The author hypothesized that the less one focuses on long-term goals, or the less one plans to achieve goals through just means, the less essential is the belief in a just world (BJW) and the less one will work at maintaining this belief when it is threatened. In Studies 1 and 2, participants’ focus on long-term investments was either manipulated or measured, and their reactions to a victim who presented a high or low threat to the BJW were assessed. In Study 2, the tendency to obtain goals through unjust means (delinquency) also was measured. As predicted, strong long-term focus and low-delinquency participants reacted more negatively toward the high-threat victim, presumably to maintain the BJW. Study 3 showed that the more one focuses on long-term investments and the less one uses unjust means, the stronger one’s BJW.
Article
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Seventy working women completed a questionnaire that assessed their dissatisfaction with their own job situation (personal discontent), their dissatisfaction with the job situations of women as a group (group discontent), and the strength of their beliefs in a just world (BJW). One month later, they completed a questionnaire that measured behaviors potentially related to discontent, some involving self-improvement (self-directed behaviors) and others relating to collective action (group-directed behaviors). Strong believers in a just world reported less group discontent than weak believers. BJW predicted both self-directed and group-directed behaviors; strong believers reported fewer behaviors of both kinds than weak believers. Taken together, BJW, group discontent, and personal discontent accounted for 23% of the variance in self-directed behaviors (R = .48) and 26% of the variance in group-directed behaviors (R = .50). These data constitute the first evidence linking BJW to assertive actions.
Chapter
We live in a world filled with risk. Nearly every day, we face the prospect of many different types of threats ranging from relatively common, everyday risks (e.g., of losing one’s wallet) to the most serious personal calamities (e.g., getting hit by a car, dying of AIDS). From a psychological standpoint, understanding how people form subjective estimates of risk, and the factors that influence such perceptions, is of critical importance. In particular, it seems likely that one’s subjective sense of well-being may depend on whether one feels personally vulnerable to these threats or not. Thus, understanding when and why people feel vulnerable to life’s many risks should offer more general insights into the factors mediating mental health. Perceptions of risk also seem likely to play a role in mediating many sorts of decisions and behaviors (cf. Johnson & Tversky, 1983, for a related discussion). For example, such simple acts as driving a car probably involve the implicit or explicit assessment of different sorts of risks (e.g., the probability of getting in an accident) and these perceptions may strongly determine many of the choices we make (e.g., how fast to drive on a stormy night).
Article
The purpose was to estimate the relationship between a defendant's stated intelligence on perceptions of his sanify and responsibility. This analog study was a 2 (occupation of defendant) x 2 (seriousness of outcome) between-subjects design. A scenario involving an insanity defense was read by 190 college students who then answered a 12-item questionnaire. The hypothesis that participants would attribute less responsibility to less intelligent defendants than to more intelligent ones was partially supported. Belief in a Just World moderated these evaluations. Seriousness of outcome influenced men's perceptions of the defendant's insanity, responsibility, and sentence, bur not women's. Participants seemed to be more willing to accept the possibility chat the defendant was insane if the outcome of his crime was not serious.
Chapter
Whilst it may not be totally clear who first used the term Belief in a Just World (BJW) it is certain that the ideas behind the concept can be found in the work of early attribution theorists (Heider, 1958) and indeed in the ideas of the great Greek Philosophers. People prefer to live in stable, orderly, predictable world where just works are rewarded and evil punished.
Chapter
Since the mid 1960s, the effects of individual differences in one's Belief in a Just World (BJW; Lerner, 1980; Lerner & Miller, 1978; Rubin & Peplau, 1975) has been applied to various domains. One area that seems particu­ larly promising is the understanding of how the BJW might be related to a number of important indicators of relationship functioning and well-be­ ing. In this chapter, we will review some preliminary findings that have been obtained from samples of married and dating couples relating the BJW to one style of handling interpersonal conflict, willingness to accom­ modate.
Chapter
Individuals have a need to believe that they live in a world where people generally get what they deserve. The belief that the world is just enables the individual to confront his physical and social environment as though they were stable and orderly. Without such a belief it would be difficult for the individual to commit himself to the pursuit of long-range goals or even to the socially regulated behavior of day-to-day life. Since the belief that the world is just serves such an important adaptive function for the individual, people are very reluctant to give up this belief, and they can be greatly troubled if they encounter evidence that suggest that the world is not really just or orderly after all” (Lerner & Miller, 1978, pp. 1030–1031).
Article
This study assessed sex differences on a portion of the Multidimensional Belief in a Just World Scale and the Irrational Beliefs Test for an undergraduate sample of 23 men and 23 women who completed both scales. No significant mean difference was found between men and women on either test. Replication with a much larger sample is needed.
Chapter
When I first came across Justice Motive Theory (JMT) and related research (Lerner, 1970; Lerner and Simmons, 1966), I was initially confused, then puzzled, and eventually fascinated by the idea that certain social judgments and behaviors, such as blaming victims for their misfortune, might be motivated by the exact opposite of what these judgments and behaviors seemed to reflect on first sight: a need for justice. Given my interest in personality and individual differences, I was attracted to Rubin and Peplau’s (1973, 1975) suggestion that the justice motive (JM) might differ between individuals just like other motives and needs do (power, achievement, approval, etc.).
Chapter
According to just world theory (Lerner, 1977, 1980; Lerner, Miller, & Holmes, 1976), people have a basic need to believe that the world is a just place—a place where individuals get what they deserve and deserve what they get. The belief in a just world provides an explanation for people’s responses to the suffering of others, especially their tendency to blame innocent victims for their fate (see Lerner & Miller, 1978, for a review). Rubin and Peplau (1975) proposed that individuals differ in the extent to which they actually believe the world is a just place. Studies investigating the relationship between individual differences in just world beliefs and attitudes toward suffering generally show that strong believers in a just world have a greater tendency to blame victims for their misfortune and a greater acceptance of general social inequalities than do weak believers (e.g., Clyman, Roth, Sniderman, & Charrier, 1980; Dalbert, Fisch, & Montada, 1992; Furnham, 1985; Furnham & Gunter, 1984; Glennon & Joseph, 1993; Smith, 1985; Wagstaff, 1983; Zuckerman, Gerbasi, Kravitz, & Wheeler, 1975; see Furnham & Procter, 1989, for a review).
Article
To estimate the relationship between the belief in a just world and irrational thinking, 62 undergraduates completed the Jones Irrational Beliefs Test and the Multidimensional Belief in a Just World Scale. It was hypothesized that belief in a just world precluded rational thinking. No significant correlations were found between scores on irrational beliefs and beliefs in a just world; however, post hoc tests indicated a significant relationship between age and scores on irrational belief in women, indicating that perhaps the older women were less prone to irrational beliefs.
Article
Based on the analysis of relevant studies concerning well-being in old age, three innovations were proposed that seem to be beneficial for future research in this field: 1) In addition to two frequently studied personality factors of mental well-being in old-age (extraversion and neuroticism), it was proposed to take into account the value-related priorities, and the content of subjectively significant goals of old people. Special emphasis is laid on the necessity to check the postulated influence of belief in a just world (Dalbert, 1998). 2) In accordance with the findings of L.L. Carstensen (1995) and M.P. Lawton (1996) concerning the significant influence of an improved ability of old people upon their capacity to manage their emotions, which results in their improved experiencing of life, it was proposed to examine the coping strategies usedin old age, and the coping styles characteristic of old age. 3) The third innovation proposed is related to the fact that the cross-sectional research projects cannot identify all factors; they can only identify cohort correlates of well-being. Since the longitudinal research method is - for various reasons (economic point of view, length of research) - applicable to a limited extent only, it was proposed - in accordance with W. Fleson and P.B. Baltes (1998) - to use both actual and retrospective formats of the tools selected. Special attention is paid to diagnosing the well-being factor. The paper presents points of departure for designing the original diagnostic tool.
Article
Widows typically receive larger monetary awards in wrongful death cases than widowers. One explanation for disproportionate awards is the view that men have higher earning capacities. Surviving spouse's demeanor while testifying and jurors' personality attributes could also influence decisions. A wrongful death trial varied gender and gender-role congruency of surviving spouse's testimony. Mock jurors (N=116) completed the Attitudes Toward Women Scale and Belief in a Just Worm Scale. They read the case, viewed testimony on videotape, and made individual and group decisions. There was limited support for prior research that widows receive larger awards than widowers. Gender-role consistent testimony elicited more monetary damages for both men and women. As hypothesized, women with egalitarian attitudes toward women awarded more to the woman in the incongruent than congruent role. Surviving spouses testifying in stereotypically masculine ways received more in damages than their emotional counterparts from high just world believers. Apparently, rather than being denigrated, these people are awarded more damages to rectify injustice. This research suggests gender of surviving spouse is not solely responsible for differences in awards. Attorneys representing clients in wrongful death cases need to consider demeanor of surviving spouses and attitudes of jurors.
Article
The psychometric properties of the Just World Scale developed by Rubin and Peplau in 1975 has been debated in the literature as some results are conflicting. The present investigation provides another look at its factor structure and the presumed relation between scores of young men and women. The two factors extracted accounted for 24.45% of the variance and matched Rubin and Peplau's factors of "Just" and "Unjust." For total scores and factor scores no effects tor sex were observed.
Article
While a substantial literature on the "belief in a just world" (M. J. Lerner, 1980) exists, little is known about who actually believes that the world is just. This study examines several existing explanations for "just-world" beliefs, and compares the beliefs of African Americans, Latinos, and Whites (aged 18+ yrs). Survey data collected in 1993 from a sample of 2,628 southern Californians are used to test whether race/ethnicity, gender, SES, age, and religion shape "just-world" beliefs. In addition, the question of whether African Americans, Latinos, and Whites differ in the effects of these variables is examined. Race/ethnic differences are found, with Latinos showing the strongest support for the belief in a just world and Blacks, the weakest. Differences are also found by SES and gender, with greatest support for "just-world" beliefs found among men and persons of low SES. Finally, race/ethnic differences are found for several determinants of the belief in a "just world." The author suggests that existing knowledge of the belief in a "just world" reflects a "White" experience of the world traceable to the neglect of Blacks and Latinos in past research.
Chapter
People ordinarily operate on the basis of unquestioned assumptions about the self, the world and the future. These cognitive schemata describe the benign world or optimism about the future, the meaningful world and the self as worthy (cf., Epstein, 1990; Janoff-Bulman, 1979; Weinstein, 1980). They do not comprise exact descriptions of reality but rather positive misperceptions; therefore they are named by Taylor (e.g., 1989) as positive illusions. Taylor and Brown (1988) showed that this kind of illusions seems to be adaptive for mental health and well-being.
Chapter
Ever since I read Melvin Lerner’s article “The Justice Motive” (1977) I was fascinated by this construct, especially because it represented a contrast to “self-interest”—the basic motivation postulated in the Economic Model of Man and in Rational Choice Theory. I became convinced that it would be very worthwhile to contribute to the establishment of this construct as a basic human motivation in the Social Sciences.
Chapter
With the theory of “Belief in a Just World” (BJW), Lerner (1970, 1980) has given an explanation as to why people blame innocent victims for self-infliction of their fate and why they derogate innocent victims. They do so to deny injustices, respectively, to defend their belief in a just world. BJW in its most general form implies the conviction that everybody gets what he or she justly deserves. The other side of the coin is that everybody deserves what happens to him or her. When oneself or others enjoy advantages or suffer disadvantages, we care about justice. BJW motivates the search for legitimate reasons. Deservingness is the most legitimate reason for many people.
Conference Paper
Two experiments tested whether innocent victims threaten observers' belief in a just world. In both experiments, participants viewed an innocent victim then performed a modified Stroop task in which they identified the color of several words presented for brief exposures (followed by a mask) on a computer screen. When the threat to justice beliefs was presumably highest, color-identification latencies were greater for justice-related words than for neutral words. In Experiment 2, under conditions of high threat, justice-related interference predicted participants' tendency to disassociate themselves from and derogate the victim. These findings suggest that innocent victims do threaten justice beliefs and responses to these victims may, at times, be attempts to reduce this threat. The methodology presented here may be applied to future investigations of defensive, counternormative processes reflecting people's concern with justice.
Article
The conviction rate for sexual assault is persistently low in the United States. We propose a cycle-of-blame framework to highlight the possibility that the same rape myths that limit convictions are in turn strengthened by not-guilty verdicts. Participants read a summary of a rape trial. In different conditions, they were told that the jury's verdict was guilty or not guilty. In a No-Verdict condition, participants merely read the summary. All 96 participants subsequently responded to questionnaires measuring rape-myth acceptance and victim empathy. Gender affected both the myth and empathy measures, with women accepting fewer myths than men and exhibiting more empathy for the victim. Gender and Condition interacted such that men showed greater acceptance of rape myths and less empathy after a not-guilty versus a guilty verdict. Women evidenced consistently high empathy across conditions and greater myth acceptance after a guilty verdict. Although the cycle-of-blame principle is consistent with the performance of men, women's data require a different interpretation, which we base on just-world theory.
Article
This paper explores the relationship between a belief in a just world and depression. Building on the work of Pearlin, Lieberman, Menaghan, and Mullan (1981), we investigate the role that a belief in a just world might play in the relationship between chronic stressors and depression. Using a random sample of noninstitutionalized adult residents (N = 283) of Northern Ireland, we find that a belief in a just world and a sense of mastery are independent cognitive structures, and that a belief in a just world has a significant effect on depression over and above the effect of mastery. Theoretical implications and research questions generated by this effort are discussed.
Article
The present vignette study examined the relations between attributions for uncontrollable, extremely negative events with religiousness, locus of control, belief in a just world, and self-esteem among a religiously heterogeneous sample of 329 college students (aged 18–58 yrs). More religious subjects made greater attributions to God's will, God's love, and evil spiritual forces, whereas less religious subjects made more attributions to chance and forces of nature. For the subset of Christians (N = 239), a similar pattern was evident as more conservative Christians rated religious attributions higher and less conservative Christians rated naturalistic attributions higher. Religiousness was a better predictor of attributions than locus of control or belief in a just/difficult world. Self-esteem was not correlated with any of the attribution factors. These findings are discussed, stressing the importance of considering religiousness as a factor in future attribution research.
Article
Using data from a survey of 623 undergraduate college women, this study explores the impact of race and prior sexual assault victimization on the acceptance of rape myths. No substantial differences emerged between Black and White women. This finding differs from earlier studies that found more support for rape myths among Blacks. Victims and nonvictims also revealed very similar attitudes, suggesting that socialization patterns or belief in a “just world” may encourage victims to retain their support of some rape myths. The findings suggest that although most college women reject rape myths, a substantial minority continue to support them. Continued educational efforts are recommended.
Article
As Deconchy (this issue) recognizes, belief in a just world appears as a funda- mental principle in people's efforts to organize their important experiences. Earlier observational and experimentally based evidence suggested that the theme of justice plays a central role in human activities and is capable of legitimizing, even requiring the sacrifice of other societal values, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Later theoretical efforts developed from the realization that holy crusades can supersede issues of justice, transform- ing terrorists and their innocent victims into heroes and martyrs. Subsequent research confirmed the presence and functioning of heroic themes in people's lives-themes designed to provide security in the face of inevitable failures and suffering.
Article
Previous research often has shown that conservative ideology is positively correlated with the extent to which people blame victims of rape. However, much of this work has been descriptive, with little attention directed toward the development of theoretical models addressing why conservatism might play an important role in this area. Three hypotheses were tested. The just world hypothesis suggests that people blame others to preserve one’s view that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get. The personal responsibility hypothesis suggests that conservatism is associated with a tendency to hold people personally responsible for their own actions. The legitimization hypothesis stipulates that conservative perceivers are motivated to maintain traditional power differences between dominant and nondominant groups. Two studies showed much more support for the legitimization hypothesis compared to the other hypotheses. The implications of the present results for previous investigations of victim blaming are discussed.
Article
It is argued that members of low status groups are faced with a psychological conflict between group justification tendencies to evaluate members of one’s own group favorably and system justification tendencies to endorse the superiority of higher status out-groups. In Study 1, members of low status groups exhibited less ingroup favoritism and more ingroup ambivalence than did members of high status groups. Perceptions that the status differences were legitimate increased outgroup favoritism and ambivalence among low status groups, and they increased ingroup favoritism and decreased ambivalence among high status groups. In Study 2, the belief in a just world and social dominance orientation increased ambivalence on the part of women toward female victims of gender discrimination, but they decreased ambivalence on the part of men. Evidence here indicates that system-justifying variables increase ingroup ambivalence among low status group members and decrease ambivalence among high status group members.
Article
The relationship between willingness to accommodate and belief in a just world (JW), possible mediators of this relationship, and their impact on marital satisfaction and perceived conflict were examined among older and younger married couples. In both samples, JW predicted greater willingness to accommodate. Among older couples, the relationship of JW to own accommodation was mediated by perceptions of spousal accommodation. Among younger couples, the relationship of JW to own accommodation was not explained by perceived spousal accommodation, trust, or partner perspective taking. Further, only among older couples did JW predict greater marital satisfaction and lower frequency of conflict. For older couples, the relationship of JW to satisfaction was not explained by own or perceived spousal accommodation; however; own and perceived spousal accommodation accounted for the relationship of JW to frequency of conflict. These studies suggest that belief in a just world contributes positively to interpersonal processes and marital well-being.
Article
In the present study, the effects of both contextual and individual factors on attitudes toward bullying among prospective teachers were examined. Contextual factors included type of aggression and the condition of having witnessed bullying. Individual factors included sex, age, empathy, sex role orientation and belief in a just world. A MANCOVA revealed no sex differences, but there was a significant main effect of the contextual factors on (a) the extent to which acts were labelled as bullying, (b) the perceived seriousness of bullying and (c) the likelihood of intervention. Physical types of aggression were labelled more often as bullying, were viewed more seriously and were more likely to warrant intervention than verbal aggression. Multiple regression analysis revealed that type of aggression, witnessing the interaction, empathy, masculinity and femininity predicted intolerant attitudes toward bullying. The results are discussed with reference to intervening in the problem of bullying.
Article
The effects of 157 university students' gender, attitudes toward women (Spence, Helmreich, & Stapp, 1973), and just-world beliefs (Lerner, 1980) on their perceptions and attributions regarding the perpetrator and victim of an instance of wife abuse were examined. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed two patterns of results, each differentially associated with participants' gender. Consistent with Heider's (1958) balance theory, males blamed and derogated the wife/victim more as their attitudes toward women became less favorable. Among females, in contrast, those with positive attitudes toward women blamed, but did not derogate, the wife/victim more as their just-world beliefs became stronger. The latter finding is interpreted in view of research which suggests that women may blame a victim of violence toward women in an effort to gain perceived control over the possibility of their own potential victimization. The implications of these findings for understanding and changing people's perceptions of the victims of wife abuse are discussed.
Article
The aim of the present study was firstly to investigate attributions of fault (cause, blame and responsibility) to a rape victim, and in the second study to examine causal explanations for rape as a function of belief in a Just World. It was predicted from the first vignette study that males would attribute more fault to the rape victim than females, and that the victim's race, dress and resistance would affect the attribution of fault. Sex of respondent and victim dress were found to be strong determinants of attribution about rape. In the second part of the study Just World Beliefs were related to 20 theories about the causes of rape. Partial support was found for the prediction that belief in a Just World would affect explanations for rape. Results are discussed in terms of attributional studies on the perceived causes of injustice.
Article
In three studies, we tested the hypothesis that the belief in a just and an unjust world are distinct constructs. The two-factor model was supported through the use of structural equation modeling and the pattern of correlations with religiosity, well-being, and political ideology. Specifically, only the belief in a just world correlated positively with religiosity, three indicators of well being (life satisfaction, mood level, and affect), and preferring a well-established political party. A comparison between prisoners and guards revealed further differences. Prisoners endorsed more strongly the belief in an unjust world, but both guards and prisoners equally endorsed the belief in a just world. We discuss the differences between the belief in a just and an unjust world, and the implications of believing in an unjust world for social behavior.
Article
The present paper examined police officers' (N = 594) exposure to operational duties and the possible moderating role played by just world beliefs, availability of social support and negative attitudes towards emotional expression and their likelihood of reporting symptoms as measured by the GHQ(12). Statistical differences are found in univariate analysis but interactions within an analysis of variance were for the most part not statistically significant. A multivariate procedure, partial order scalogram analysis (POSA) constructs profiles for respondents in terms of their scores across the moderating variables. This enabled examination of interactional effects, which showed differences in the role of moderators under conditions of high and low stressor exposure and revealed the most at risk officers (profiles in which officers exhibited high negative attitude towards emotional expression, low just world beliefs and low levels of social support). Implications for further analysis and counselling interventions are discussed.
Article
Although perceptions of risk have been studied extensively by both social and cognitive psychologists, relatively little work has focused on individual differences in these perceptions. Across two studies, the authors examined the relationship of perceived risk to just world beliefs (BJW) and right-wing authoritarianism (RWA). Both studies showed that these two variables have interactive effects on perceived risk across a wide variety of different types of threats (e.g., getting hijacked, contracting AIDS). Among high authoritarians, participants felt much less at risk if they believed in a just world than if they did not. Among low authoritarians, however, BJW and perceived risk were unrelated. Results are conceptualized in terms of a buffering hypothesis, which suggests that the extent to which self-protective variables (such as BJW) mediate risk are most pronounced among persons who view the world in threatening terms (i.e., high authoritarians). Implication of these findings for previous models of risk and personality development are discussed.
Article
Studies have shown that the belief in a just world (BJW) is related to psychological well-being. The authors suggest that studies exploring this relationship might benefit by making the distinction between the BJW for self versus for others or in general. In two studies, the authors assessed subjects' perceptions of depression, stress, and life satisfaction for self and for others. Subjects also completed measures of the five-factor model of personality. As predicted, the BJW for self most strongly and consistently predicted decreases in depression and stress, and increases in life satisfaction. When the five personality dimensions were included in the analyses, the BJW for self and for others continued to predict life satisfaction but not depression and stress. The implications of these results concerning the relationship between the BJW and psychological well-being, and how the just world is conceptualized, are discussed.
Article
Cross-sectional studies were conducted to examine whether the belief in a just world formed a unidimensional construct in Hungary. Overall, from 1991 to 1994, the scale became increasingly more homogeneous, ultimately measuring a unidimensional construct from 1993 onward. Studies conducted in Slovenia and Slovalia suggested hat these changes in the just world structure could not be explained by societal factors such as a changing political system. Support for the validity of the Hungarian just world scale was gained by finding positive associations between just world belief and satisfaction with one's (past) life and religiosity. Moreover, cross-sectional comparisons during 1993 indicated that Hungarian subjects differentiated more strongly between just world belief and belief in future compensation than did German subjects. Further, for Hungarian subjects, just world belief and belief in future compensation correlated positively with religiosity; for Germans, only the belief in future compensation correlated positively with religiosity.
Article
This paper is predicated on the idea that Just World Beliefs (JWB) are multidimensional. It is proposed that individual difference in JWB are divided into three components referring to different spheres of behavior: personal, interpersonal, and social political (Paulus, 1983). A questionnaire was specifically devised to assess these beliefs. There was some evidence of internal reliability. A construct validity study is reported to substantiate the use of the new instrument. It examined the relationship between JWB and the attitudes to AIDS. As predicted, JWB beliefs were closely related to five attitudinal factors concerning AIDS. Socio-political just world beliefs seemed most closely linked to attitudes to AIDS, though the size of the correlations suggests the relationship was not very substantial. The structure of JWB are discussed along with other relevant research on attitudes to AIDS.
Article
The author investigated the effects of just world belief on the egocentric fairness bias among Japanese undergraduates. After responding to the Just World (JW) Scale (Rubin & Peplau, 1975) and to a set of fair and unfair behaviors, the participants were divided into 2 groups (low JW and high JW) according to their responses to the scale. The egocentric fairness bias was confirmed; the participants tended to consider their own behaviors as fair rather than unfair and other people's behaviors as unfair rather than fair. High-JW participants regarded their own behaviors as fairer and those of other people as less fair than did low-JW participants. The egocentric fairness bias was stronger in the participants who believed strongly in a just world than in those whose belief in a just world was weaker.
Article
The study determined if Furnham's proposed Just World and Unjust World subscales (1985. European Journal of Social Psychology, 15, 363–366) could be recovered from Rubin and Peplau's Just World Scale (JWS) (1973. Journal of Social Issues, 29, 73–93; 1975. Journal of Social Issues, 31, 65–89). The study also examined the psychometric properties of the JWS, in particular, the factor structure, internal consistency reliability, relation to social desirability, and concurrent validity of this long-established scale. Findings from a sample of 253 Canadian management undergraduates revealed strong support for the uncorrelated two-factor solution, just and unjust world dimensions, but continuing concerns over the low scale and subscale reliabilities. JWS scores were independent of social desirability scores as measured by the Marlowe–Crowne Social Desirability scale (Crowne & Marlowe, 1960. Journal of Consulting Pschology, 24, 349–354). Results suggest that researchers use the just and unjust world scores in addition to overall scores.
Article
The psychometric properties of the Just World Scale developed by Rubin and Peplau in 1975 has been debated in the literature as some results are conflicting. The present investigation provides another look at its factor structure and the presumed relation between scores of young men and women. The two factors extracted accounted for 24.45% of the variance and marched Rubin and Peplau's factors of "Just" and "Unjust." For total scores and factor scores no effects for sex were observed.
Article
To estimate the relationship between the belief in a just world and irrational thinking, 62 undergraduates completed the Jones Irrational Beliefs Test and the Multidimensional Belief in a Just World Scale. It was hypothesized that belief in a just world precluded rational thinking. No significant correlations were found between scores on irrational beliefs and beliefs in a just world; however, post hoc tests indicated a significant relationship between age and scores on irrational belief in women, indicating that perhaps the older women were less prone to irrational beliefs.