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The Belief in a Just World and Immanent Justice Reasoning in Adults

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Abstract

Deciding that negative experiences are punishment for prior misdeeds, even when plausible causal links are missing, is immanent justice (IJ) reasoning (Piaget, 1932/1965). Three studies examined a just world theory analysis of IJ reasoning in adults (Lerner, 1980). Studies 1 and 2 varied the valence of a target person's behavior prior to them experiencing an unrelated negative (car accident, Study 1) or positive (lottery win, Study 2) outcome. Participants viewed the outcomes as the result of prior behavior most when they fit deservingness expectations (good person won the lottery, bad person injured in automobile accident), suggesting that just world concerns influenced IJ reasoning. The lottery-winning finding (Study 2) also extends IJ reasoning to positive experiences. A third study found that a manipulation of just world threat in one context (prolonged or ended suffering of an HIV victim) influenced IJ responses in a subsequent unrelated context (automobile accident scenario).

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... Over the life course, we have a possibility of receiving both misfortune and good fortune, and others might engage in justice reasoning about why good fortune happens to certain people. Callan et al. (2006) focused on good fortune and investigated its relationship with immanent justice. They found that, like misfortune, people attributed others' good fortune to their past deeds, considering that a good person deserves to receive good fortune. ...
... Studies measuring justice reasoning usually manipulate a target person's moral value (e.g., Callan et al., 2006;Callan, Ferguson, & Bindemann, 2012;Harvey & Callan, 2014a, b). Such studies have consistently found that when the moral value of a target person is low, misfortune is attributed to the person's past misdeeds (i.e., immanent justice reasoning), while when the moral value of the target person is high, it is believed that the misfortune will be compensated in the future (i.e., ultimate justice reasoning). ...
... Such studies have consistently found that when the moral value of a target person is low, misfortune is attributed to the person's past misdeeds (i.e., immanent justice reasoning), while when the moral value of the target person is high, it is believed that the misfortune will be compensated in the future (i.e., ultimate justice reasoning). Even though previous studies have focused only on misfortune, immanent justice reasoning should also occur when a good person receives good fortune, as Callan et al. (2006) indicated, because the concept of immanent justice is based on the past deeds of a target person. Therefore, it is expected that when the person's moral value is high, any good fortune that happens to them would be attributed to their past deeds, but this would not happen when a person, whose moral value is low, receives good fortune. ...
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While research into justice reasoning has progressed extensively, the findings and implications have been mainly limited to Western cultures. This study investigated the relationship between immanent and ultimate justice reasoning about others’ misfortune and good fortune in Japanese participants. The effects of goal focus and religiosity, which previously have been found to foster justice reasoning, were also tested. Participants were randomly assigned to one condition of a 2 (goal focus: long term or short term) × 2 (target person’s moral value: respected or thief) × 2 (type of luck: misfortune or good fortune) design. For immanent justice reasoning, the results revealed that a “bad” person’s misfortune was attributed to their past misdeeds, while a “good” person’s good fortune was attributed to their past good deeds. Regarding ultimate justice reasoning, it was found that a good person’s misfortune was connected more to future compensation than their good fortune, whereas a bad person’s misfortune was not reasoned about using ultimate justice. There was no significant effect of religiosity or goal focus on justice reasoning, which is inconsistent with the findings of previous studies. The necessity of directly examining cultural differences is discussed in relation to extending and strengthening the theory of justice reasoning.
... Despite its many flaws, immanent justice beliefs continue to be largely prevalent in modern societies (Baumard and Chevallier 2012;Callan et al. 2006). Immanent justice often alters reactions towards victims of misfortune and can contribute to blaming and derogating the victim instead of instilling empathy and applying help behaviors (Callan et al. 2006;Lerner 1966Lerner , 1970Lerner et al. 1976;Maes 1998). ...
... Despite its many flaws, immanent justice beliefs continue to be largely prevalent in modern societies (Baumard and Chevallier 2012;Callan et al. 2006). Immanent justice often alters reactions towards victims of misfortune and can contribute to blaming and derogating the victim instead of instilling empathy and applying help behaviors (Callan et al. 2006;Lerner 1966Lerner , 1970Lerner et al. 1976;Maes 1998). A direct legal and sociopolitical implication of immanent justice is related to its alignment with notation of equity, defined as the propensity between people's product and their contribution (Maes and Schmitt 1999;Zedelius et al. 2017). ...
... Since then, research has found varying outcomes relating to adults' adoption of immanent justice reasoning Callan et al. 2006;Maes 1998). Although lower in instances when compared to young children, adults also apply immanent justice reasoning Callan et al. 2006;Maes 1998). ...
... Despite its many flaws, immanent justice beliefs continue to be largely prevalent in modern societies (Baumard and Chevallier 2012;Callan et al. 2006). Immanent justice often alters reactions towards victims of misfortune and can contribute to blaming and derogating the victim instead of instilling empathy and applying help behaviors (Callan et al. 2006;Lerner 1966Lerner , 1970Lerner et al. 1976;Maes 1998). ...
... Despite its many flaws, immanent justice beliefs continue to be largely prevalent in modern societies (Baumard and Chevallier 2012;Callan et al. 2006). Immanent justice often alters reactions towards victims of misfortune and can contribute to blaming and derogating the victim instead of instilling empathy and applying help behaviors (Callan et al. 2006;Lerner 1966Lerner , 1970Lerner et al. 1976;Maes 1998). A direct legal and sociopolitical implication of immanent justice is related to its alignment with notation of equity, defined as the propensity between people's product and their contribution (Maes and Schmitt 1999;Zedelius et al. 2017). ...
... Since then, research has found varying outcomes relating to adults' adoption of immanent justice reasoning Callan et al. 2006;Maes 1998). Although lower in instances when compared to young children, adults also apply immanent justice reasoning Callan et al. 2006;Maes 1998). ...
... In particular, people tend to engage in this type of reasoning when the value of the random outcome is perceived to be congruent with his/her past moral deeds. Previous studies have repeatedly shown that the less morally worthy a person is, the more likely it is that their current misfortune would be attributed to their past deeds (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006;Callan et al., 2013). The same explanation holds true for good fortune. ...
... The same explanation holds true for good fortune. In other words, the more morally worthy a person is, the more likely it is that their current good fortune will be attributed to their past deeds (Callan et al., 2006). These results are consistent not only in the Western culture but also in East Asia (Murayama & Miura, 2016). ...
... These results are consistent not only in the Western culture but also in East Asia (Murayama & Miura, 2016). Such reasoning allows people to hold onto their just-world beliefs, which refer to strong beliefs that people get what they deserve (Callan et al., 2006;Lerner, 1980). Past studies have largely focused on misfortunes rather than good fortune, because they can lead to social exclusion and a lack of support, especially when the affected individual has previously engaged in a misdeed. ...
Article
Previous studies have investigated the importance of religiosity in enhancing peopleʼs justice reasoning, yet the findings have been limited to the Western culture, where a majority of people believe in Christianity. In order to investigate the effect of cultural difference and of religiosity on immanent justice reasoning, we compared and contrasted the degree of engagement in immanent justice reasoning regarding someoneʼs misfortune among American Christians, Japanese Buddhists, and nonreligious participants in the two cultures. The analysis found that among Americans, those who believed in Christianity engaged in stronger immanent justice reasoning toward an unfortunate person with lower moral values than did participants without a particular faith. The Japanese, on the other hand, showed stronger immanent justice reasoning for people with lower moral values, regardless of their faith. In addition, when the person had low moral value, the Japanese tended to engage in such reasoning more strongly than did Americans. Our results showed that religious beliefs may contribute to strengthening engagement in immanent justice reasoning in the Western culture, but such a generalization may not be accurate in other cultures.
... Immanent justice reasoning is the belief that actions bring about deserved outcomes, even when there is no physically plausible means by which they might have done so (Callan, Sutton, Harvey, & Dawtry, 2014;Piaget, 1932Piaget, /1965. For instance, inferring that a man's freak accident was caused by him having an extramarital affair is reasoning in immanent justice terms (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006). Research suggests that immanent justice reasoning stems, in part, from the need to believe in a just-world. ...
... Second, to provide convergent validity for our spatial binding task as reflecting causal attributions, we asked another sample of participants to rate the degree to which they believed the outcomes were a result of the targets' immoral behavior (Part 1c; cf. Callan et al., 2006). ...
... The spatial positioning tasks we developed here may be less susceptible to self-report bias than explicit causal ratings used in most previous research in this field. In such studies, although agreement is greater for morally congruent outcomes (compared to morally incongruent outcomes), at least Western participants rarely highly agree with immanent justice explanations for chance outcomes (e.g., Callan et al., 2006), presumably because doing so flies in the face of conventional rationality and metaphysical realism. Indeed, raping a coworker, for example, does not ipso facto cause fluctuations in the stock markets, and participants' explicit causal judgments tend to accord with this lack of physical causality. ...
Article
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Immanent justice reasoning involves causally attributing someone’s bad outcome to their prior immoral actions. Building on the idea that causality is mentally linked with spatial proximity, we investigated whether such reasoning might lead participants to spatially bind together immoral actions and bad outcomes. Across four experiments ( N = 553, Mechanical Turk workers), participants positioned sentences describing other people’s bad (vs. good) outcomes closer in space to previous immoral behaviors. This effect was observed both when the position of the initial action remained in a fixed location and when it “chased” the outcome across the screen. Importantly, we also found that this spatial positioning of immoral actions and bad outcomes is mediated by perceived deservingness of the outcome and is not merely due to perceived similarity of events. These findings suggest that perceived deservingness biases the spatial proximity of representations of others’ random bad outcomes and their prior immoral actions.
... Notably, an increase in motivation when people pursue a reward of uncertain magnitude might also reflect an illusion of control (Langer 1975), or an illusory belief that good things happen to those who work hard (Callan, Ellard, and Nicol 2006). Although such illusory beliefs can also result in an increase in motivation when uncertainty is involved, we argue that based on research on the unsealed-fate superstition (Strickland, Lewicki, and Katz 1966), these illusory beliefs would predict that uncertainty increases motivation only if the size of the reward is yet to be determined. ...
... The uncertain chocolate bag already had either a small or a large number of truffles, but the experimenter did not reveal the actual number to the participants until the end of the auction. This latter feature allowed us to rule out as a possible explanation the superstitious belief that good things happen to those who work hard (Callan et al. 2006;Converse, Risen, and Carter 2012;Langer 1975), that is, that by paying more, one can increase his/her chances of getting the larger number of truffles. Such magical belief should not occur if the reward is determined before the person invests resources (Strickland et al. 1966). ...
Article
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Can a reward of an uncertain magnitude be more motivating than a reward of a certain magnitude? This research documents the motivating-uncertainty effect and specifies when this effect occurs. People invest more effort, time, and money to qualify for an uncertain reward (e.g., a 50% chance at $2 and a 50% chance at $1) than a certain reward of a higher expected value (e.g., a 100% chance at $2). This effect arises only when people focus on the process of pursuing a reward, not when they focus on the outcome (the reward itself). When the focus is on the process of reward pursuit, uncertainty generates positive experience such as excitement and hence increases motivation. Four studies involving real rewards lend support to the motivating-uncertainty effect. This research carries theoretical implications for research on risk preference and motivation and practical implications for how to devise cost-efficient consumer incentive systems.
... Indeed, numerous experimental studies have found that lay people attribute fortune or misfortune, such as freak car crashes or windfalls, to either "bad" or "good" people respectively based on their perceived levels of moral desert (e.g. Berryessa & Lively, 2019;Callan et al., 2006;Rubin & Paplau, 1973;Wu & Cohen, 2017). This notion that "good" or "bad" moral worth can bring about deserved outcomes in instances of brute luck are instances of a psychological phenomenon and set of moral beliefs called immanent justice reasoning (Murayama & Miura, 2016). ...
... For reasons outlined above, Study 2 also sought to examine whether immanent justice reasoning is elicited in scenarios involving criminal qualities ascribed to either social or genetic luck and if it is significantly associated with support for desert-based punishment. As previously described, existing evidence suggests why we might potentially expect lay persons to show immanent justice reasoning in instances of natural luck and its potential explanatory relevance to judgments of desert-based punishment (Berryessa & Lively, 2019;Rubin & Paplau, 1973;Callan et al., 2006;Wu & Cohen, 2017). Thus, this experiment hypothesized that immanent justice reasoning would be elicited for both genetic and social luck, and that such ratings would be significantly associated with support for desert-based punishment for both types of natural luck. ...
Article
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This research presents three experiments that examine how natural "luck" (social and genetic luck) may affect lay intuitions toward desert-based criminal punishment. Study 1 examined if intuitions surrounding desert-based rewards in relation to good qualities/advantages ascribed to natural luck would extend to desert-based punishments in relation to bad qualities/disadvantages ascribed to natural luck. Study 2 examined how both social and genetic luck affect support for desert-based punishment across different criminal offenses and tests the relevance of immanent justice reasoning to such support. Study 3 examined whether findings in the prior studies are specific to desert-based punishment and immanent justice reasoning, or if natural luck elicits broader punishment judgments and types of justice reasoning. Results showed that known intuitions surrounding desert-based rewards do extend to desert-based punishments in instances of natural luck. Immanent justice reasoning was strongly associated with support for desert-based punishment in instances of both social and genetic luck. However, genetic luck, as compared to social luck, significantly increased support for desert-based punishment, with imminent justice reasoning mediating this increased support. Implications are discussed in relation to capital sentencing and better understanding lay intuitions toward the punishment of criminal offenders who may have qualities ascribed to the "natural lottery."
... Similarly, BJW people tend to believe that good fate persons deserve their good outcomes because of previous good actions. It was found that high BJW people felt that the lottery winner in the scenario was more deserving if it was a good person or someone who had done good things before (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006). ...
... We expected that belief in a just world would influence moral judgment because this belief may persist into adulthood to differing degrees (Callan et al., 2006;Piaget, 1965) as a mental mechanism to cope with the frustration from perceiving unfair events (Strelan & Covic, 2006). That is, we suggest that BJW depends less on moral development and is more influenced by the motivation to maintain a sense of justice (the justice motive). ...
Article
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This paper addresses the influence of belief in a just world on moral judgment using moral dilemmas by observing the interactions with the following independent variables: 1) dual-process cognitions (automatic or deliberate), 2) the protagonist’s fate (bad, good, or absent), and 3) the type of dilemma (life-threatening or not). The results found no effects of belief in a just world on moral judgments. But an interaction between the protagonist’s fate and the dilemma type emerged as significant. In Study 1, the protagonist was identified as a victim, the participants accepted moral violations against the bad fate victim to a greater extent in the life-threatening situation (turning the car to crash into one man in order to save five men) than in the non-life-threatening situation (choosing an employee for dismissal to save the company’s financial status). In Study 2, the protagonist was specified as an offender. The participants accepted the violations against the good fate offender to a greater extent in the non-life-threatening than in the life-threatening situation. Meanwhile, the participants in the control groups (for whom the protagonist was not affected by fate) of both studies exhibited greater acceptance of moral violations in the non-life-threatening than the life-threatening situations.
... Although not often used, the "winning the lottery" paradigm has been previously utilized to study perceptions of the justice of "good" or "bad" people winning the lottery. For example, in Callan, Ellard, and Nicol (2006)'s experiment, participants viewed random, good outcomes as the result of prior behavior most when they fit deservingness expectations (i.e. a "good" person won the lottery). Callan, Shead, & Olson (2009), when presenting participants with a story about a lottery winner and later asking to remember the value of the prize, participants reported remembering a smaller amount of money as the prize when the winner was portrayed as a "bad" person; the authors argued that participants recollected the When a Sex Offender Wins the Lottery 6 lottery win in a way that judged its value as more consistent with what they wanted the "bad" winner to receive. ...
... Callan, Shead, & Olson (2009), when presenting participants with a story about a lottery winner and later asking to remember the value of the prize, participants reported remembering a smaller amount of money as the prize when the winner was portrayed as a "bad" person; the authors argued that participants recollected the When a Sex Offender Wins the Lottery 6 lottery win in a way that judged its value as more consistent with what they wanted the "bad" winner to receive. Another study found that participants supported a lottery win for an individual when the recipient was described as a friendly man, as compared to when he was described as mean (Callan et al., 2006;Callan et al., 2014). Finally, a classic study involving the "winners" of a 1971 draft lottery reported that the self-worth of those chosen to go to Vietnam shifted upon encountering this misfortune: those who were drafted viewed themselves as less worthy or "good" people who deserved such a fate after "winning" the lottery (Rubin & Paplau, 1973). ...
Article
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We present three experimental, between-subject studies, utilizing a lottery win scenario, that attempt to illuminate how different forms of child sex offender stigma lead to support for forms of legal and social punishment in instances of perceived injustice when a “bad” person is randomly rewarded. The first study sought to examine how the child sex offender label would affect participants’ punitiveness toward an individual experiencing a random fortune, as compared to other criminal and non-criminal stigmas. The second study compared social and legal punitiveness regarding stigma of accusations versus substantiated claims of sex offending against children, particularly when comparing them with a child murderer. The third study attempts to disentangle punitiveness related to different acts of sexual deviance, as well as stigma related to different types of sexual offenses against children. Although not a direct test, results appear to be consistent with reactions to a violation of immanent justice reasoning. Data show mixed reactions related to social and legal punishment, and suggest that it may be the “mark” or stigma of criminality, rather than the sex offender stigma specifically, that leads to punitive sentiments in reaction to “bad” individuals experiencing a random fortune. However, focusing on the registration, notification, and regulation of an individual’s behavior and his winnings, support for certain types of legal punishment do appear to be directly associated with the child sex offender label, which is similar to sentiments that underlie community support for sex offender registries and community notification.
... Mientras que la CMJ es postulada por la psicología social como una creencia colectiva, la psicología genética considera a la JI como el resultado de la elaboración intelectual individual, aunque infl uenciada por las prácticas sociales de las que la persona participa. Más aún, los únicos trabajos hallados hasta el momento que relacionan la CMJ y la JI (Callan, Ellard & Nicol, 2006;Jose, 1990;Maes, 1998) no han respetado las particularidades metodológicas con las que fueron investigadas ni el modo en el que fueron descritas por las disciplinas que las han puesto de relieve, haciendo que ambos conceptos pierdan aspectos constitutivos de su sentido original. Además, los antecedentes disponibles no se han ocupado del desarrollo de la CMJ, que solo ha sido indagada en individuos adultos, ni del desarrollo de la JI, con excepción del clásico estudio piagetiano. ...
Article
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The belief in immanent justice was described by Piaget as existing only among children, although some studies describe its presence in adults. Social psychologists have identified the ideological belief in a just world, which is similar to immanent justice. Moreover, this belief coexists with others forms of explaining social injustice in a polyphase cognitive process, even in adults. A study was conducted to analyze the development of immanent justice in students between 6 and 17 years old. The conclusion is that the belief in immanent justice can be seen as a justification of the belief in a just world, framed in animistic thought, and transformed during the process of development into two other forms of justification: social reciprocity and individual merit.
... Kaplowitz, 1979). Так, в исследованииCallan, Ellard, and Nicol (2006) установлено, что респонденты оценивали мужчину, изменяющего своей жене, как более заслуживающего автомобильной аварии (не связанной каким-либо образом с фактом измены), чем мужчину, хранящего верность. Согласно теоретическим рассуждениямLerner (1998), вера людей в наличие у них «заслуженности» того, что они получают, может приводить к оправдыванию их текущих негативных переживаний путем обесценивания или обнаружения недостатков в самих себе. ...
... Indeed, there is evidence that an offender's fateful harm decreases the punishment observers want to impose (e.g., Austin, 1979 ). Further, observers engage in immanent justice reasoning and tend to construe a causal link (even where objectively there is none) between an offender's misdeeds and an unrelated negative outcomes he/ she experiences, which portrays the outcome as deserved punishment and should serve to maintain their belief in a just world (e.g., Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006 ). However, research by Gollwitzer and colleagues indicates that from a victim's perspective the offender's suffering per se is not satisfactory. ...
Chapter
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In this contribution, we review research on the psychology of retributive justice, the subjectively appropriate punishment of individuals or groups who have committed a transgression. We discuss possible evolutionary origins of retributive justice, move on to more reflective philosophies of punishment prevalent in societal discourse, and discuss psychological underpinnings of individuals’ adoption of particular philosophies or goals of punishment. We then focus on how exactly punishment as a response to wrongdoing (i.e., retribution) may satisfy a psychological justice motive. We highlight the communicative function of retribution and its ability to address symbolic threats or concerns that derive from a wrongdoing. Finally, we will argue that while retribution may be sought to alleviate various concerns and to repair justice, its capacity to do so as well as individuals’ choices of punishment for these purposes can only be adequately understood if non-punitive alternatives are considered. We call for an integrated understanding of justice responses that recognizes the fluid and multifaceted nature of justice repair.
... Just world reasoning suggests that one way in which people try to make sense of injustice in their lives is by interpreting it in a temporal context, i.e. connected to future or past events (Ellard, Harvey, & Callan, 2016), so that either way people get what they deserve (Lerner, 1980). Therefore, the BJW might attenuate the effects of a transgression by means of involving immanent and ultimate justice perceptions (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006;Maes & Schmitt, 1999), i.e. that the transgression is less unjust to begin with or that the relationship will work out to be fair in the long run. In addition, perceptions related to the offender are important factors for interpreting transgressions, since moral judgments differ qualitatively and quantitatively according to the perceived intentionality of a behaviour (Ohtsubo, 2007;Struthers, Eaton, Santelli, Uchiyama, & Shirvani, 2008), and the offender's perceived responsibility is related to deservingness, forgiveness, and acceptance of apology (Bennett & Earwaker, 1994;Feather, 1996;Fincham, 2000). ...
... Mientras que la CMJ es postulada por la psicología social como una creencia colectiva, la psicología genética considera a la JI como el resultado de la elaboración intelectual individual, aunque infl uenciada por las prácticas sociales de las que la persona participa. Más aun, los únicos trabajos empíricos que hemos hallado que relacionan la CMJ y la JI (Callan, Ellard y Nicol, 2006;Jose, 1990;Maes, 1998) no han respetado las particularidades metodológicas con las que fueron investigadas ni el modo en el que fueron descritas por las disciplinas que las han puesto de relieve, haciendo que ambos conceptos pierdan aspectos constitutivos de su sentido original. Además, no se han ocupado del desarrollo de la CMJ, que sólo ha sido indagada en individuos adultos, ni lo han hecho respecto del desarrollo de la JI, con excepción del clásico estudio piagetiano. ...
... Children, for instance, would reason that a child experiencing a fortuitous mishap had the experience because of a prior moral indiscretion. However, it appears that the justice motive can lead adults to engage in similar "magical" reasoning, particularly under conditions where circumstances are morally signifi cant and their capacity for refl ective consideration of what happened is diminished (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006 ;Callan, Sutton, & Dovale, 2010 ; for a review, see Callan, Sutton, Harvey, & Dawtry, 2014 ). For example, Callan, Harvey et al. ( 2013 ) found that participants causally related a freak car accident to the victim's prior behavior to a greater extent when they learned he previously stole from children (vs. ...
Chapter
Why do people care about justice? This chapter addresses the question from the point of view of a body of theory and research that has examined the motivational commitment people have to the assumptive belief that the world is just. Inspired by Melvin J. Lerner’s exploration of the need to believe in a just world, justice motive research, as it has come to be known, identifies deservingness as the cornerstone of people’s justice concerns. In a just world, people get what they deserve. The need to believe in a just world gives rise to a variety of behaviours and psychological processes with both constructive and destructive consequences. The search for justice moves people to altruistic acts but also victim blaming. It can also distort recall of the past, shape expectations for the future, and even lead people to think that fortuitous harms were somehow caused by previous misdeeds. Fifty years of justice motive research has yielded significant insights into the variety of ways the justice motive appears in people’s lives. The chapter also discusses the social cognitive origins of the justice motive, current issues and trends including the role of the justice motive in people’s reactions to their own fates, construal of everyday experience, and the relation between justice motive processes and widely used measures of just world beliefs.
... Unsurprisingly, this worldview has been linked to meritocratic values (Rusch, Todd, Bodenhausen, & Corrigan, 2010). Moreover, victim blaming is theorized as the major pathway through which BJW works to produce negative attitudes (Lerner, 1980), which could be the result of a "what goes around, comes around"-kind of mindset (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006;Rusch et al., 2010). Indeed, in previous research, BJW predicted prejudice in a host of social situations and contexts, such as toward rape victims (Ottati, Bodenhausen, & Newman, 2005) and mentally ill individuals (Bizer et al., 2012;Corrigan, 2005;Ottati et al., 2005;Rusch et al., 2010). ...
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People with mental disorders often face prejudices that can further deteriorate their condition. We tested whether Social Dominance Orientation (SDO), Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA), and Belief in a Just World (BJW), and characteristics of the mentally ill predict such prejudices. Both in a general population sample and a sample of health professionals and trainees, SDO, but not RWA and BJW, predicted more prejudice, although this pattern was less pronounced among health professionals/trainees. BJW interacted with the targets' gender in Study 1, predicting less empathy toward a male but not toward a female mentally ill person. In Study 2, depressed individuals were blamed more for their illness than those with schizophrenia or cancer. Implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.
... People may use different psychological means to maintain their BJW (for reviews, see Hafer and Bègue 2005), including, but not limited to, blaming and derogating victims (e.g., Bizer et al. 2012), demonizing harm-doers (Callan et al. 2007), immanent justice reasoning (Callan et al. 2006), and compensatory rationalization (Gaucher et al. 2010). Most research on processes of justification have focused on the tendency to blame and derogate victims (Hafer and Bègue 2005), and has found that people high in BJW will often prefer to blame innocent victims for bad results instead of attributing blame to bad luck or the perpetrator (Bizer et al. 2012). ...
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We live in a society where body height matters. Previous research has explored how body height influences individuals’ perception of others, of themselves, and of the surrounding world. Evidence has shown that physical shortness is associated with various disadvantages and a lower level of personal belief in a just world (BJW-self). We hypothesize that an individual’s physical height will predict his or her inclination to blame innocent victims, mediated by BJW-self. We conducted a study among 346 college students in China to test our hypothesis. Indeed, we found that, compared to shorter people, taller people were more likely to blame innocent victims, and this effect was mediated by BJW-self. Females are more sensitive to this mediating effect. Implications for future research on physical shortness and BJW were discussed.
... If outcomes are obtained through random chance, why would people consider those outcomes to be unjust? Prior work on immanent justice suggests that people will still respond as if the beneficiary or victim is personally responsible for those outcomes even if the outcomes are due to random chance; people attribute deservingness of positive or negative outcomes to individuals as a function of how good or bad a person they are, even when no obvious causal link exists between moral character and outcomes [20,21]. Consider, for example, a case of an employee known to bully other workers and who randomly wins the lottery; even though it is obvious that his bullying behavior did not cause him to win, it is likely his co-workers would still consider it unfair that such an abusive individual should win the lottery. ...
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Most people have a desire to live in a just world, a place where good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. And yet, injustices do occur: good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Across four experiments, we show that people respond quite differently to correct these two types of injustices. When bad things happen to good people, individuals are eager to compensate a good person’s losses, but only do so to a small degree. In contrast, when a good thing happens to a bad person, because the only perceived appropriate act of punishment is to fully strip the bad actor of all his or her illegitimate gains, few people choose to punish in this costly way. However, when they do, they do so to very large degrees. Moreover, we demonstrate that differential psychological mechanisms drive this asymmetry.
... Regarding the operationalization of our JWT manipulations, participants were confronted with injustice by reading about an unjust event (HIV infection and car accident). Although the confrontation with such events is well established when aiming to question the validity of the BJW (Hafer & Bègue, 2005), most studies use stronger manipulations, for example, by presenting participants an interview with the victim on video (e.g., Callan et al., 2009;Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006). Lerner (2003) argues that low impact threats (i.e., weak arousal and emotions as in our studies) only lead to automatic justice striving responses when there is less time to think about one's reaction. ...
Article
The present work examines the influence of dispositional personal belief in a just world (BJW) on (dis)honest behavior and the moderating role of just-world threats. Assuming a positive link between personal BJW and striving for justice and sensitivity to injustice, we first expected dishonesty to be negatively linked to higher levels of personal BJW. Second, assuming just-world threats to promote behavior that helps to re-establish the BJW, and considering honesty to be a matter of justice, we expected dishonest behavior to be lower after just-world threat. Due to a higher sensitivity to injustice, this should be the case especially for people who boast a high personal BJW. In two studies, we assessed participants’ dispositional personal (and general) BJW and manipulated just-world threat. Afterwards, we assessed dishonesty by using a dice task (Study 1, N = 135), or an anagram task (Study 2, N = 147), respectively. In both studies, higher levels of personal BJW were negatively linked to dishonesty. Additionally, in Study 1, participants in the high (vs. low) threat condition showed less dishonesty, especially when having a high personal BJW. Results of Study 2 did not support this idea. In both studies, general BJW did not predict dishonesty.
... For example, Callan, Dawtry, and Olson (2012) found that individuals tended to punish an older wrongdoer less harshly than a younger one as they considered it unfair for the elder to suffer. Other studies have found similar patterns when justice reasoning is involved in assessing the deservingness of cheated men in car accidents (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006), the winners and losers in the 1971 national draft lottery (Rubin & Peplau, 1973), etc. ...
Article
Social media has become a popular venue for support seeking, which often involves self-disclosure about one's misfortune. To examine how help-related emotions and cognitions as responses to such disclosure might be influenced by technological factors, we conducted a 2 (interpersonal similarity: low vs. high) x 3 (message publicness: private vs. moderate vs. public) between-participants experiment online. Findings suggest that seeing disclosure about a personal misfortune from a dissimilar other, as compared with a similar other, elicited schadenfreude and inhibited empathy via heightened perceived deservingness among message recipients. Also, such effects were more prominent when the self-disclosure messages were visible within a given network of friends as compared to when messages were made completely public to everyone or exclusively directed to the observer.
... Our work contributes to this field by testing asymmetries in karmic forecasts for self versus others. Even though there is some work suggesting that karmic beliefs also apply to the self, most research on karmic beliefs or immanent justice reasoning have focused on beliefs about others (e.g., Baumard & Chevallier, 2012;Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006;Callan, Ferguson, & Bindemann, 2013;Callan, Sutton, & Dovale, 2010;Harvey & Callan, 2014b;Pepitone & Saffiotti, 1997;Raman & Winer, 2002White, Norenzayan, & Schaller, 2018;Young, Morris, Burrus, Krishnan, & Regmi, 2011). Indeed, as Callan et al. (2014) noted in their review of this literature, "[r]esearch on immanent justice reasoning to date has invariably focused on observer reactions to fortunes and misfortunes occurring to good and bad people" (p. ...
... After this video, participants were told they would soon view a second video offering further information about the victim's situation. We manipulated threat to the need to believe in a just world through these instructions by varying participants' expectations about the severity of the victim's suffering (for similar manipulations, see [26], [27]). In the high just-world threat or severe suffering condition, participants were told simply that the second video gave more information about the victim's condition. ...
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We argue that people will often eschew explicit victim blame (e.g., claiming that “X is to blame”) because it is counternormative and socially undesirable, yet they might still engage in subtle victim blame by attributing victims’ suffering to behaviors the victims can control (i.e., “high control causes”). We found support for this argument in three online studies with US residents. In Studies 1 and 2, participants viewed a victim posing either a high threat to the need to believe in a just world, which should heighten the motivation to engage in victim blame, or a low threat. They then rated explicit blame items and attributions for the victim’s suffering. Explicit blame was low overall and not influenced by victim threat. However, participants attributed the high threat victim’s suffering, more than the low threat victim’s suffering, to high control causes, thus showing a subtle blame effect. In Study 2, explicit blame and subtle blame were less strongly associated (in the high threat condition) for individuals high in socially desirable responding. These results are consistent with our argument that explicit and subtle blame diverge in part due to social desirability concerns. In Study 3, most participants believed others viewed the explicit blame items, but not the attribution items, as assessing blame. Thus, attributions to high control causes can be seen as “subtle” in the sense that people believe others will view such statements as reflecting constructs other than blame. Our studies suggest a way of responding to innocent victims that could be particularly relevant in a modern context, given increasing social undesirability of various negative responses to disadvantaged and victimized individuals.
... Such an approach is compatible with the current understanding that there are myriad pathways for the preservation of just world beliefs. Individual difference and situational determinants of which pathways are selected include repressive or nonrepressive coping styles (Hafer & Gosse, 2011), reacting with little or maximum cognitive effort van den Bos & Maas, 2009), justice beliefs (Anderson, Kay, & Fitzsimons, 2010;Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006), levels of egodepletion (Loseman & van den Bos, 2012), ideological beliefs (Altemeyer, 1996;Lambert & Raichle, 2000;Williams, 1984), and the victim's ingroup or outgroup status (Aguiar, Vala, Correia, & Pereira, 2008), among many others. In a broad review of just world literature, Hafer and Gosse (2010) criticized the singleresponse approach (e.g., focusing on individual victim derogation alone) and called for greater attention to comparing alternative just world preservation strategies. ...
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Just world research has shown that observers derogate victims more for their misfortunes if the perpetrator is not harshly punished (Lerner in J Personal Soc Psychol 1(4):355–360, 1980). However, few studies have investigated minority group derogation as a just world preservation strategy after instances of intergroup harm-doing. This study is among the first to demonstrate the derogation of both individual victims and of the victim’s minority group experimentally, using the context of a racist hate crime in Australia. In the present experiment, participants (N = 110) read a news article describing a hate crime against an Aboriginal Australian teenager and were informed that the perpetrator was harshly or leniently punished (secure vs. justice threat condition). Our results show that in the justice threat condition, participants not only derogated the individual Aboriginal Australian victim more after his death, they also expressed greater racism toward the victim’s group. An indirect effect of the justice threat condition on modern racism via individual victim derogation was observed, along with moderating effects of individual differences in belief in a just world. These findings provide support for the alarming hypothesis that racist hate crimes are not only the manifestation of a racist society, but may also bolster racial prejudices if leniently treated. The results highlight the important role of political and judicial authorities, whose response or non-response to a hate crime can exacerbate or ameliorate existing prejudices.
... The fact that people believe that rich people who donate to charity deserve to be rich highlights the important role that philanthropy plays in justifying existing economic structures. Just as people preserve the belief that the world is fair by drawing reverse causal inferences between present life circumstances and past moral deeds (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006), attributing how wealth is spent in the present to how it was made in the past may similarly help people preserve the belief that the economic system is legitimate and fair (Jost, 2019). For instance, whereas viewing "the rich" as having made their wealth at others' expense reduces tolerance for inequality (Davidai & Ongis, 2019), attributing wealth to internal dispositions bolsters the belief in economic mobility and people's acceptance of inequality (Davidai, 2018;Day & Fiske, 2017;Kluegel & Smith, 1986;Kraus & Tan, 2015;Shariff et al., 2016). ...
Article
People often judge how much “the rich” deserve to be rich by taking into consideration how they had made their wealth. How do people make such judgments about the origins of others' wealth? In nine studies (N = 1707) and two supplemental analyses (N = 197), we examine whether the attributions people make about wealth are influenced by the way wealthy people spend their money. We find that people are more likely to attribute economic success to internal factors (such as hard work and competence) when “the rich” spend their money charitably versus when they spend it in a more luxurious manner. Moreover, we find that the tendency to attribute wealth to internal factors is due to judgments about wealthy individuals' character, and that the influence of spending on trait attribution is substantially larger for merit-related traits (e.g., persistence or industriousness) than other positive traits that are unrelated to merit (e.g., elegance or youthfulness). Finally, we find that how “the rich” spend their fortunes influences beliefs about how much they deserve to be rich. The more wealthy people give their money to charity, the more people believe that they deserve to have it in the first place.
... Although intuitive justice beliefs are directly linked to moral behavior, the implications differ from those of beliefs in moralizing gods. First, these intuitions (outside of a religious context) are generally related to rewards and punishments in a relatively short time span, often within a lifetime (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006); the good and bad things that happen to us are because of good or bad things we did in our remembered past. Religious karmic beliefs build on these intuitions and apply them across lifetimes. ...
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Moralizing religions encourage people to anticipate supernatural punishments for violating moral norms, even in anonymous interactions. This is thought to be one way large-scale societies have solved cooperative dilemmas. Previous research has overwhelmingly focused on the effects of moralizing gods, and has yet to thoroughly examine other religious moralizing systems, such as karma, to which more than a billion people subscribe worldwide. In two pre-registered studies conducted with Chinese Singaporeans, we compared the moralizing effects of karma and afterlife beliefs of Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, and the non-religious. In Study 1 (N = 582), we found that Buddhists and Taoists (karmic religions) judge individual actions as having greater consequences in this life and the next, compared to Christians. Pointing to the specific role of karma beliefs in these judgements, these effects were replicated in comparisons of participants from the non-karmic religions/groups (Christian and non-religious) who did or did not endorse karma belief. Study 2 (N = 830) exploited religious syncretism in this population by reminding participants about either moral afterlife beliefs (reincarnation or heaven/hell), ancestor veneration beliefs, or neither, before assessing norms of generosity in a series of hypothetical dictator games. When reminded of their ancestor veneration beliefs, Buddhists and Taoists (but not Christians) endorsed parochial prosocial norms, expressing willingness to give more to their family and religious group than did those in the control condition. Moral afterlife beliefs increased generosity to strangers for all groups. Taken together, these results provide evidence that different religious beliefs can foster and maintain different prosocial and cooperative norms.
... A vitimização secundária será uma tentativa inconsciente e motivada emocionalmente por parte dos observadores em proteger e/ou repor a sua CMJ face a esta ameaça à sua " ilusão fundamental " (Lerner, 1980Lerner, , 2003). No processo, os indivíduos encetam uma distorção inconsciente da informação, recorrendo a esquemas de atribuição pouco sofisticados, supostamente ausentes no raciocínio abstracto, através dos quais os resultados negativos de alguém (e.g., um acidente) são explicados por razões internas a essa pessoa (para demonstrações do raciocínio de justiça imanente nos adultos, ver Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006). A influência destes esquemas de atribuição, conscientes na infância, mas normalmente inconscientes nos adultos, conduz a que os observadores os apliquem de forma automática, perante uma situação com forte carga emotiva, como é o caso do testemunho de um sofrimento não merecido e não possível de ser finalizado (Hafer & Bègue, 2005; Lerner, 2003; Lerner & Goldberg, 1999). ...
... Second, it presents information about the frequency at which any concept will likely be transmitted within the ritual system. A key aspect of the original model is that a concept's likelihood of being presented to a follower from a leader or new religious leader is a function of its distance from a cognitive anchor (Whitehouse et al. 2012); i.e., the concept has some connection to one of four cognitive mechanisms: mind-body dualism (Bloom 2005), promiscuous teleology (Kelemen and Diyanni 2005), immanent justice (Callan et al. 2006), or hazard precaution (Boyer and Liénard 2006). Although there is evidence for these four cognitive mechanisms as devices in the human repertoire of mental facilities utilized in the cognition of religious concepts, it remains to be shown that a concept's repetition frequency is tied to any of these anchors. ...
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Agent-based modeling allows researchers to investigate theories of complex social phenomena and subsequently use the model to generate new hypotheses that can then be compared to real-world data. However, computer modeling has been underutilized in regard to the understanding of religious systems, which often require very complex theories with multiple interacting variables (Braxton et al. in Method Theory Study Relig 24(3):267-290, 2012. doi: 10.1163/157006812X635709 ; Lane in J Cogn Sci Relig 1(2):161-180, 2013). This paper presents an example of how computer modeling can be used to explore, test, and further understand religious systems, specifically looking at one prominent theory of religious ritual. The process is continuous: theory building, hypothesis generation, testing against real-world data, and improving the model. In this example, the output of an agent-based model of religious behavior is compared against real-world religious sermons and texts using semantic network analysis. It finds that most religious materials exhibit unique scale-free small-world properties and that a concept's centrality in a religious schema best predicts its frequency of presentation. These results reveal that there adjustments need to be made to existing models of religious ritual systems and provide parameters for future models. The paper ends with a discussion of implications for a new multi-agent model of doctrinal ritual behaviors as well as propositions for further interdisciplinary research concerning the multi-agent modeling of religious ritual behaviors.
... The idea that people have a fundamental concern with issues of fairness and justice in everyday life is by no means new. Research on equity theory (e.g., DeScioli, Massenko , Shaw, Petersen, & Kurzban, 2014 ), procedural justice ( Clay-Warner, 2001 ), and belief in a just world ( Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006 ) are all based on the notion that justice concerns are a central feature of social thought and behavior. Justice concerns are also a central dynamic of the Kohlbergian view of moral development (e.g., Kohlberg, 1975 ) and remain an important aspect of lay morality in more pluralistic models of moral judgment ( Gilligan, 1982 ;Graham et al., 2013;Shweder, Mahapatra, & Miller, 1987 ). ...
... Importantly, we identify everyone by name in both the organization and members frames to address the confound that our results are due to the identifiability victim effect. Following past research, we use an external, uncontrollable cause (e.g., Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006;Furnham & Gunter, 1984;Lerner & Miller, 1978) to minimize internal attributions of the target's misfortune. Doing so would alleviate concerns that people feel less empathy in the organization (vs. ...
Article
Organizations—especially small businesses—are vulnerable to social and economic upheaval. When misfortune befalls organizations, how much do we empathize with them? Here we present a framework for understanding the causes, mechanisms, and consequences of empathy for organizations. One key cause of empathy is framing: Although any organization is comprised of its constituent members, six studies find that the members frame (“members comprising an organization”) evokes more empathy than the organization frame (“an organization comprised of its members”). The effect of framing on empathy is mediated through anthropomorphism—how humanlike an organization seems. Studies also reveal moral consequences of framing. Increased empathy towards an organization translates to increased perceptions that its suffering is unfair, and to increased helping behavior to address that suffering. Theoretically, these results provide a multi-stage model of empathy for organizations. Practically, these results reveal how struggling organizations can increase empathy for their plight.
... A common conceptualization of subjective, individual-level relative deprivation is personal relative deprivation (PRD), which relates to feelings of frustration and resentment in response to the idea of being deprived of a deserved and desired outcome, stemming from upward comparisons with similar others [14][15][16]. Human concern for justice is a key prerequisite for the experience of relative deprivation [17]; a threat to one's personal deservingness produces perceptions of injustice and unfairness [14,15,18]. PRD has been associated with various adverse outcomes, including depression [19], physical and mental health issues [20], but also gambling and other risk behaviours [21,22]. ...
Article
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Growing evidence suggests that relative disadvantage is more relevant than absolute socioeconomic factors in explaining disparities in healthfulness of diet. In a series of pre-registered experiments, we tested whether personal relative deprivation (PRD), i.e. the sense that one is unfairly deprived of a deserved outcome relative to others, results in choosing more palatable, rewarding foods. Study 1 ( N = 102) demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of a game for inducing real-time experiences of PRD. Study 2 ( N = 287) showed no main effect of PRD condition on hypothetical food choices, but an interaction between chronic PRD and condition revealed that those in the PRD condition chose more rewarding foods when feeling chronically deprived. In Study 3 ( N = 260) the hypothesized main effect was found on real, non-hypothetical food choices: those in the PRD condition chose more rewarding foods, controlling for sensitivity to palatable food. Our results provide preliminary indications that the experience of being relatively deprived, rather than the objective amount or resources, may result in a higher preference for high-caloric and palatable foods. It may be suggested that efforts to reduce societal disparities in healthfulness of diet may need to focus on perceptions of injustice beyond objective inequalities.
... 村 山・三 浦:被害者非難と加害者の非人間化 と,長期目標の維持が阻害され,より小さい,短時間 で受け取れる報酬を選択しやすくなる傾向が示されて いる (Callan, Shead, & Olson, 2009) 。ただし,このよ うな傾向は被害者非難をどの程度行うかによって異な り,信念が脅威にさらされた場合に被害者非難を行う ほど,短時間で獲得できる小さな報酬を無視し,長時 間経過した後に獲得できる大きな報酬を選好すること が分かった (Callan, Harvey, & Sutton, 2014 (Callan, Ellard, & Nicol, 2006;Callan, Sutton, & Dovale, 2010;Correia & Vala, 2003;Correia et al., 2007) 。そのため,公正世界信念と加害 者に対する反応との関係は,被害者非難との関係ほど 系 統 だ っ た 検 討 が な さ れ て い な い (Hafer & Begue, 2005 (Hafer & Begue, 2005;Lipkus, Dalbert, & Siegler, 1996;Maes, 1998;Maes & Schmitt, 1999 参加者にはまず刺激が呈示さ れ, 熟読後に以下の項目への回答が求められた。 まず, 被害者非難について,行動非難( "繁華街を深夜に歩 いていた被害者の男性(女性)にも落ち度がある" , "口 論をしていたとしたら,刺された原因は被害者の男性 (女性)にもある" :α = .71) )と,被害者との心的距 離( "このような出来事は,自分に近しい人にも十分 に起こりうる" , "被害者の男性(女性)のように,自 分も似たような事件に巻き込まれるかもしれない" : 4 使用した刺激は付録に示した。 α = .87) ...
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This study defined Belief in Just World (BJW) multidimensionally and investigated the effects of Belief in Immanent Justice (BIJ) and Belief in Ultimate Justice (BUJ) on victim derogation and draconian punishment of perpetrators. Study 1 tested the validity of the multidimensional structure of BJW and demonstrated relationships between BJW and other psychological variables. In Study 2, we measured the reactions to the victim and perpetrator in an injury case reported in a news article, and evaluated the relationships of these reactions to BIJ and BUJ. The results revealed that BIJ was associated with a preference in draconian punishment of the perpetrator, while BUJ was associated with dissociation from the victim (a type of victim derogation). In addition, as hypothesized, we found that dehumanization of the perpetrator partially mediated the relationship between BIJ and victim derogation. We discussed relationships between the two types of BJW and just-world maintenance strategies in the situation where a victim and a perpetrator are both recognized.
Chapter
Immanent justice reasoning involves causally attributing a deserved outcome to someone’s prior moral deeds or character, even when such a causal connection is physically implausible. This chapter describes a body of work showing that immanent justice reasoning is (a) motivated, in part, by the need to construe outcomes as deserved; (b) driven by intuitive more than controlled mental processes; and (c) more openly expressed among individuals who believe in supernatural phenomena. This review also documents several additional lines of inquiry exploring key assumptions about the nature, origins, and functions of immanent justice reasoning, including immanent justice reasoning for self-relevant fortuitous outcomes, the social-communicative function of immanent justice reasoning, and the interplay between immanent justice and normative causal reasoning. Early research portrayed immanent justice reasoning as unique to children, but this chapter identifies several conditions under which it is predictably displayed by adults. Immanent justice reasoning serves important psychological functions in adulthood, and is underpinned by reasoning processes and metaphysical assumptions that are not put away when children become adults.
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This article explores the role of magical thinking in the subjective probabilities of future chance events. In five experiments, we show that individuals tend to predict a more lucky future (reflected in probability judgments of lucky and unfortunate chance events) for someone who happened to purchase a product associated with a highly moral person than for someone who unknowingly purchased a product associated with a highly immoral person. In the former case, positive events were considered more likely than negative events, whereas in the latter case, the difference in the likelihood judgment of positive and negative events disappeared or even reversed. Our results indicate that this effect is unlikely to be driven by participants’ immanent justice beliefs, the availability heuristic or experimenter demand. Finally, we show that individuals rely more heavily on magical thinking when their need for control is threatened, thus suggesting that lack of control represents a factor in driving magical thinking in making predictions about the future.
Article
Contemporary work is highly interdependent, requiring discretionary work effort (DWE) in response to colleagues and customers. According to social exchange theory, organizational support encourages DWE as a form of employee reciprocation. Our model integrating social exchange and expectancy theory anticipates future career returns from organizational support in the form of training and promotion opportunity. Positive career expectations strengthen feelings of employee obligation that are realized in higher levels of DWE. In addition, career expectations are heightened when these opportunities are provided under procedurally just conditions. Furthermore, the relationship between career expectation and felt obligation is strengthened when interactional justice is high. Using structural equation modeling, these hypotheses are successfully tested on a survey of 201 bank employees and their supervisors. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
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According to justice motive theory, people have a need to believe that the world is a just place where individuals get what they deserve. Thus, people are motivated to defend belief in a just world (BJW) when it is threatened by evidence of injustice. Although BJW-defense has generated much research over the past 40 years, this research has traditionally been of narrow scope, leaving fundamental propositions associated with BJW-defense untested. We have tried to fill this gap by addressing two key questions regarding BJW-defense. Our first question is, why do people defend BJW? We present research suggesting that people defend BJW in part because it encourages investment in long-term goals as well as the pursuit of those goals through prosocial means. Furthermore, we discuss preliminary research suggesting that BJW provides a sense of purpose in life. Our second question is, how do people defend BJW? We present evidence for modes of BJW-defense that go beyond the focus of traditional BJW research. We also discuss potential situational and individual difference determinants of how people defend BJW, with a focus on repressive coping style. For the research on both the why and how of BJW-defense, we address implications for further investigation and theorizing on the justice motive as well as more applied topics. Finally, we discuss a number of broader issues regarding BJW-defense that are raised by our review.
Article
Previous research has documented that judging an agent causing an accident mainly relies on considerations about the outcome endured by the victim and the intention to cause harm. In this study, we investigate how these two factors may be influenced by the morality ascribed to the agent, independently of the action itself. In three online experiments, we determined whether information about the moral character of agents influenced moral judgment of accidental harm. Participants were presented with short narratives depicting accidental harm scenarios and were asked to report their judgment of the perpetrator. In experiment 1 and 3 (N = 683), we manipulated the perpetrator's morality and warmth orthogonally. In experiment 2 (N = 271), we focused on morality and simultaneously manipulated the perpetrator's and victim's moral character. In both experiments, we found that the perpetrator's moral character influenced judgments. Participants were more forgiving toward perpetrators of high morality relative to low morality, and the effect of the moral character was greater than the effect of warmth (experiment 1). The victim's moral character also influenced moral judgments but to a lesser extent than that of the perpetrator and did not interact with the moral character of the perpetrator (experiment 2). Participants were harsher toward the perpetrator when the victim was described as having high morality as compared to low morality. In experiment 3 (N = 346), we replicated the effect of morality and warmth and further found that perceived intentionality mediated the effect of the perpetrator's moral character (but not warmth) on moral judgment. These results show that information about the moral character -not directly related to the moral transgression – shapes third-party moral judgment through perceived intentionality, even in the case of accidental harm transgressions.
Article
A cross-sectional study was conducted to explore the role of belief in a just world between negative life events and life satisfaction. The results revealed that two dimensions of belief in a just world played partial mediating roles between negative life events and life satisfaction. Moreover, belief in a just world was also a moderator between negative life events and life satisfaction that mitigates the adverse effects of negative life events. In conclusion, these results suggest that belief in a just world could be both a mediator and a moderator between negative life events and life satisfaction.
Chapter
Justice is one of the central values in people’s lives. Being treated fairly and treating each other with respect are important principles for many. Yet, in everyday life people are confronted with injustice and innocent victims on a regular basis. Reactions toward victims can range from going to great lengths to help or support the victims to harsh negative reactions often resulting in blaming victims for what happened to them. This chapter describes how lay theories of justice influence our responses toward victims in particular and social justice in general. We review a range of both negative reactions, such as victim blaming, and positive reactions, such as helping and immanent justice reasoning, and discuss important psychological processes underlying these reactions.
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Background: Moral principles in children can influence their oral hygiene practices and can be beneficial in providing better oral health care. Aim: To assess the consistency of Piaget's moral development principles in Indian children aged 7 to 11 years and evaluate its influence on their oral hygiene practices. Design: The first phase of the embedded mixed-method approach included telephone interviews of 50 children on eight situations of moral development as suggested by Jean Piaget. Children were categorised into heteronomous and autonomous morality based on the content analysis. The second phase of the study included a semi-structured qualitative interview on knowledge and practice behaviour of children on oral hygiene maintenance. Results: There was no significant difference in the overall moral development of children aged 7 to 9 years and 9 to 11 years (p = 0.57). Only 4.8% of girls had heteronomous morality, and a significant difference was noted between boys and girls (p = 0.014). There was a significant difference in the oral hygiene practices observed between heteronomous and autonomous moralities children. Conclusion: Children were autonomous in their morality at 7 to 9 years of age. Children with autonomous morality performed better oral hygiene practices than children with heteronomous morality.
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The present study examined children’s and adults’ explanations about the relations between various factors (contagion, imbalanced diet, lack of sleep, mental depression, cold weather, and immanent justice) and the onset of illness. Six-, 9-, 11-year-old children and adults very frequently judged that contagion and cold weather would make an individual contract a cold. They also tended to judge that lifestyle habits such as nutrition and sleep are causal factors. When asked why these factors led to illness, children and adults frequently referred to “germs” and “resistance” factors. In resistance explanations, given factors were assumed to cause illness by weakening an individual’s resistant power, which was expressed as vital force, power, energy, physical strength, immune system, or stress. Coexistence of “germ” and “resistance” explanations were more evident among adults than children, and among adults with a higher education level.
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This article describes three studies that examined Japanese children’s and adults’ intuitive perceptions regarding the links between pain, effort, and healing. A total of 79 six‐year‐olds, 81 nine‐year‐olds, 74 twelve‐year‐olds, and 66 adults were presented with scenarios involving modern and traditional medical interventions and were examined with regard to how the level of pain and effort presented in the scenarios influenced their views of healing. It was consequently found that the 6‐year‐olds tended to judge painful interventions as aversive, while adults considered them to be effective. Furthermore, overall, effortful interventions were believed to be more efficacious than painful ones. The children and adults appeared to assume that people who have tried hard and expended considerable effort deserve to be healed quickly. These results are in accord with the coexistence model, which posits that an individual can have coexisting scientific and folk beliefs across his/her life course.
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Supernatural beliefs are ubiquitous around the world, and mounting evidence indicates that these beliefs partly rely on intuitive, cross‐culturally recurrent cognitive processes. Specifically, past research has focused on humans' intuitive tendency to perceive minds as part of the cognitive foundations of belief in a personified God—an agentic, morally concerned supernatural entity. However, much less is known about belief in karma—another culturally widespread but ostensibly non‐agentic supernatural entity reflecting ethical causation across reincarnations. In two studies and four high‐powered samples, including mostly Christian Canadians and mostly Hindu Indians (Study 1, N = 2,006) and mostly Christian Americans and Singaporean Buddhists (Study 2, N = 1,752), we provide the first systematic empirical investigation of the cognitive intuitions underlying various forms of belief in karma. We used path analyses to (a) replicate tests of the previously documented cognitive predictors of belief in God, (b) test whether this same network of variables predicts belief in karma, and (c) examine the relative contributions of cognitive and cultural variables to both sets of beliefs. We found that cognitive tendencies toward intuitive thinking, mentalizing, dualism, and teleological thinking predicted a variety of beliefs about karma—including morally laden, non‐agentic, and agentic conceptualizations—above and beyond the variability explained by cultural learning about karma across cultures. These results provide further evidence for an independent role for both culture and cognition in supporting diverse types of supernatural beliefs in distinct cultural contexts.
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This paper aims to examine the role of Belief in a Just World (BJW; Lerner, 1980) in the legitimation of economic inequality. Using data from 27 European countries (N=47,086), we conducted multilevel analyses and found that BJW positively predicted the legitimation of economic inequality, measured by three indicators: the perceived fairness of the overall wealth inequality, and the fairness of the earnings made by the Top 10% and the Bottom 10% of society. These results persisted after controlling for individual- and country-level variables. Moreover, the BJW effect was stronger on the legitimation of the Bottom 10% incomes, compared to the legitimation of the Top 10%. We also found that economic inequality at the country-level reduced the BJW effect on legitimation of inequality. Finally, BJW displayed a negative indirect effect on support for redistribution, via the legitimation of economic inequalities.
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One of the pillars of legal socialization theory is how non-legal contexts shape the legitimacy of and compliance with laws. Yet there is little longitudinal evidence establishing the interface mechanism between these spheres. The purpose of this research was to demonstrate how youths’ beliefs in a just world (BJW) can help explain the transmission between the justice of non-legal authorities (parents and schools) and law legitimacy and rule violating behavior (RVB). We utilized two waves of longitudinal data from adolescents at ages 13 and 14 (N = 680) in the São Paulo Legal Socialization Study. Structural equation modeling revealed a good fit to the tested model that parental procedural justice and school justice predict both personal and general BJW, and these predict law legitimacy evaluations one year later. General and personal BJW also had an indirect effect on RVB over the following year via law legitimacy. The results suggest that non-legal authorities may influence law legitimacy not through a direct projection (which was not significant), but through an indirect process of worldview construction. Legal socialization and just world belief research can converge to help explain the interface between non-legal and legal spheres of authority.
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We investigated direct cross-cultural differences in individuals’ immanent and ultimate justice reasoning about others’ misfortunes, focusing on deservingness as a mediating variable. Participants from the United States and Japan read a scenario describing a subject’s misfortune. The target subject’s moral worth was manipulated as that of a respected person or a thief. After reading the scenario, participants completed questionnaires containing items on immanent and ultimate justice reasoning as well as deservingness of receiving the misfortune and of future restitution. The analysis revealed that Japanese respondents tended to engage more in immanent justice reasoning than did American respondents when the target subject was of low moral worth, while American participants overall engaged more in ultimate justice reasoning compared with Japanese. Our hypotheses on the mediation effect of deservingness on the relationship between country and justice reasoning were partly supported. These findings suggest that an exploration of cultural differences in justice reasoning, incorporating the role of deservingness, can contribute to extending and strengthening the theory of justice reasoning.
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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.
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Four experiments (total N = 3591) examined how thinking about Karma and God increases adherence to social norms that prescribe fairness in anonymous dictator games. We found that (1) thinking about Karma decreased selfishness among karmic believers across religious affiliations, including Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and non-religious Americans; (2) thinking about God also decreased selfishness among believers in God (but not among non-believers), replicating previous findings; and (3) thinking about both karma and God shifted participants’ initially selfish offers towards fairness (the normatively prosocial response), but had no effect on already fair offers. These supernatural framing effects were obtained and replicated in high- powered, pre-registered experiments and remained robust to several methodological checks, including hypothesis guessing, game familiarity, demographic variables, between- and within- subjects designs, and variation in data exclusion criteria. These results support the role of culturally-elaborated beliefs about supernatural justice as a motivator of believer’s adherence to prosocial norms.
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Building on just-world theory, the current study examined variables contributing to the labeling of violent incidents as senseless. In a 2 × 2 (Blame Opportunities x Victim Ethnicity) design, Dutch participants (N= 78) were provided with a written hypothetical situation depicting a violent incident. Consistent with predictions, the violence was evaluated to be less deserved and more senseless (and the desired penalty for the offender was stronger) when participants had no opportunity to blame the victim than when they did have an opportunity to blame the victim. Likewise, an act of violence committed against a victim belonging to an ethnic minority (allochthonous victim) was perceived to be more deserved and less senseless (and the desired penalty for the offender was smaller) than a similar violent act directed against a native (autochthonous) victim. Findings designate that the just-world theory offers a promising approach to investigate factors determining the labeling of violent incidents as senseless by outside, uninvolved observers.
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Redefines the classical conception of magic as a cognitive intuition or belief in the existence of imperceptible forces or essences that transcend the usual boundary between the mental/symbolic and physical/material realities, in a way that (1) diverges from the received wisdom from the technocratic elite, (2) serves important functions, and (3) follows the principles of similarity and contagion. The authors provide evidence to support their claim that sympathetic magic operates on the basis of laws of similarity and, in particular, contagion. Further evidence suggests that mental models of contagion may differ between individuals, require management through framing, and have adaptive value. The discussion concludes with the development and functioning of magical thinking—part of the symbolic world that humans have created and as a principle psychological vehicle for the internalization of the contingencies of the real world. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Building on just-world theory, the current study examined variables contributing to the labeling of violent incidents as senseless. In a 2 × 2 (Blame Opportunities x Victim Ethnicity) design, Dutch participants (N= 78) were provided with a written hypothetical situation depicting a violent incident. Consistent with predictions, the violence was evaluated to be less deserved and more senseless (and the desired penalty for the offender was stronger) when participants had no opportunity to blame the victim than when they did have an opportunity to blame the victim. Likewise, an act of violence committed against a victim belonging to an ethnic minority (allochthonous victim) was perceived to be more deserved and less senseless (and the desired penalty for the offender was smaller) than a similar violent act directed against a native (autochthonous) victim. Findings designate that the just-world theory offers a promising approach to investigate factors determining the labeling of violent incidents as senseless by outside, uninvolved observers.
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The greater power of bad events over good ones is found in everyday events, major life events (e.g., trauma), close relationship outcomes, social network patterns, interpersonal interactions, and learning processes. Bad emotions, bad parents, and bad feedback have more impact than good ones, and bad information is processed more thoroughly than good. The self is more motivated to avoid bad self-definitions than to pursue good ones. Bad impressions and bad stereotypes are quicker to form and more resistant to disconfirmation than good ones. Various explanations such as diagnosticity and salience help explain some findings, but the greater power of bad events is still found when such variables are controlled. Hardly any exceptions (indicating greater power of good) can be found. Taken together, these findings suggest that bad is stronger than good, as a general principle across a broad range of psychological phenomena.
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A culpable control model is advanced to describe the conditions that encourage as well as mitigate blame and to assess the process by which blame and mitigation occur. The fundamental assumptions of the model are that evidence concerning harmful events is scrutinized for its contribution to personal control and spontaneously evaluated for its favorableness or unfavorableness. Spontaneous evaluations encourage a blame-validation mode of processing in which evidence concerning the event is reviewed in a manner that favors ascribing blame to the person or persons who evoke the most negative affect or whose behavior confirms unfavorable expectations. The author delineates the elements of perceived control and then discusses spontaneous evaluation influences on control and blame assessments. The blame-validation process is described next. Finally, the culpable control model is compared with extant theories of blame and responsibility and its basic tenets summarized.
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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.
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M. J. Lerner (1980) proposed that people need to believe in a just world; thus, evidence that the world is not just is threatening, and people have a number of strategies for reducing such threats. Early research on this idea, and on just-world theory more broadly, was reviewed in early publications (e.g., M. J. Lerner, 1980; M. J. Lerner & D. T. Miller, 1978). In the present article, focus is directed on the post-1980 experimental research on this theory. First, 2 conceptualizations of the term belief in a just world are described, the typical experimental paradigms are explained, and a general overview of the post-1980 experiments is provided. Second, problems with this literature are discussed, including the unsystematic nature of the research. Third, important developments that have occurred, despite the problems reviewed, are described. Finally, theoretical challenges that researchers should address if this area of inquiry is to advance in the future are discussed.
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This study explores the conditions under which experimentally primed anger influences both attributions of responsibility and the processes by which people make such attributions. Drawing on social functional theory, it was hypothesized that people are best thought of as ‘intuitive prosecutors’ who lower their thresholds for making attributions of harmful intent and recommending harsh punishment when they both witness a serious transgression of societal norms and believe that the transgressor escaped punishment. The data support the hypotheses. Anger primed by a serious crime ‘carried over’ to influence judgments of unrelated acts of harm only when the perpetrator of the crime went unpunished, notwithstanding the arousal of equally intense anger in conditions in which the perpetrator was appropriately punished or his fate was unknown. Participants in the perpetrator-unpunished condition also relied on simpler and more punitive attributional heuristics for inferring responsibility for harm. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
This study explores the conditions under which experimentally primed anger influences both attributions of responsibility and the processes by which people make such attributions. Drawing on social functional theory, it was hypothesized that people are best thought of as 'intuitive prosecutors' who lower their thresholds for making attributions of harmful intent and recommending harsh punishment when they both witness a serious transgression of societal norms and believe that the transgressor escaped punishment. The data support the hypotheses. Anger primed by a serious crime 'carried over' to influence judgments of unrelated acts of harm only wizen the perpetrator of the crime went unpunished, notwithstanding the arousal of equally intense anger in conditions in which the perpetrator appropriately punished or his fate was unknown. Participants in the perpetrator-unpunished condition also relied on simpler and more punitive attributional heuristics for inferring responsibility for harm. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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The discussion that follows begins with the observation that the dominant view among contemporary investigators is that most adults have outgrown the childish belief they live in a just world (BJW). These BJW investigators have also assumed that one can assess the vestigial remnants of that belief as a stable meaningful individual difference variable. Beginning with the question of why this view of BJW has prevailed over the initial theory and research that portrayed BJW as a “fundamental delusion,” I will raise and attempt to address several basic issues. Among these are whether, in fact, adults give up their BJW or merely employ various ways to maintain it in the face of contradicting evidence, and to what extent BJW actually influences people’s lives. After reviewing relevant evidence and contemporary theories, I will offer evidence to the effect that people actually maintain and express the effects of two forms of BJW: One involves consciously held conventional rules of morality and rational social judgments, while the second is characterized by preconscious processes with primitive rules of blaming and automatic emotional consequences. Recognizing the two forms of BJW raises questions concerning what can and cannot be profitably studied with questionnaire research. Clearly, the highly creative and insightful contributions reported in the chapters in this volume are among the best examples of what can be learned. Finally, I will conclude with the scientific and personal implications of failing to recognize the differential properties and influences of these two forms of BJW.
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In a series of sophisticated experiments beginning in 1965, Melvin Lerner was able to demonstrate impressively how beliefs regarding justice can alter human reactions toward the innocent victims of misfortune—instead of sympathizing and helping the victim, subjects can be made to belittle his plight and even scorn him (for a summary, see Lerner, 1970; Lerner, Miller & Holmes, 1976). According to Lerner’s theory of justworld motivation, people assume that they live in a just world, in which each person gets what he deserves and deserves what he gets. Should a person witness clear injustice, this (potentially vital) belief in the justice of the world becomes threatened. Thus, people are motivated to maintain or reaffirm their belief in a just world, perhaps through personal or active engagement in the preservation of justice. Because the latter may often prove costly (if not impossible), people attempt to maintain their belief in a just world by simply ignoring injustice or reinterpreting the results of events such that the consequences appear to be just. If, for example, the victim himself has contributed to his misfortune, or appears to be a bad person, one might argue that he doesn’t deserve any better; in this manner, an incident of obvious injustice might paradoxically become evidence supporting a just world, and thus validate the observer ’s belief system. In his theoretical analyses of the topic, however, Melvin Lerner (1980) expressly points out that the devaluation of innocent victims is not the only strategy by which belief in a just world is preserved. Other strategies include the construction of many different worlds, of which only one—the one most relevant for the observer—must be just, or the assumption of various time perspectives.
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In the current climate of welfare reform, it is important to understand how perceptions of the poor affect policy decisions. This paper examines how people distinguish between the undeserving poor and the deserving poor, and how this differentiation affects policy decisions. Survey respondents rated each policy in a set of hypothetical policies on a liberal-conservative continuum. Analyses were then conducted to explore differences in the respondents' likelihood of recommending the most liberal and the most conservative of these policies. Study 1 demonstrated that liberal policies here more likely to be recommended and conservative policies were less likely to be recommended when the target group was perceived to be deserving rather than undeserving. Study 2 replicated this effect of perceived deservingness and demonstrated an effect of attribution of responsibility. That is, liberal policies were more likely to be recommended and conservative policies were less likely to be recommended when the responsibility for the target's poverty was attributed to society rather than to the individual.
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1. The Belief in a Just World.- 2. The First Experiment: The Effect of Fortuitous Reward.- 3. The Second Experiment: Observers' Reactions to the "Innocent Victim".- 4. The Third Experiment: The Martyred and Innocent Victims.- 5. Three Experiments That Assess the Effects of Sex and Educational Background of Observers, Experimenter and Observer Influence on One Another, and the Reactions of "Informed" and Nonimplicated Observers.- 6. Reactions to the Belief in a Just World Theory and Findings: The "Nay-Sayers".- 7. Condemning the Victimized.- 8. The Assignment of Blame.- 9. The Response to Victimization: Extreme Tests of the Belief in a Just World.- 10. Who Believes in a Just World: Dimension or Style.- 11. Deserving versus Justice.- References.
Article
This study explores the conditions under which experimentally primed anger influences both attributions of responsibility and the processes by which people make such attributions. Drawing on social functional theory, it was hypothesized that people are best thought of as 'intuitive prosecutors' who lower their thresholds for making attribu- tions of harmful intent and recommending harsh punishment when they both witness a serious transgression of societal norms and believe that the transgressor escaped punishment. The data support the hypotheses. Anger primed by a serious crime 'carried over' to influence judgments of unrelated acts of harm only when the perpetrator of the crime went unpunished, notwithstanding the arousal of equally intense anger in conditions in which the perpetrator was appropriately punished or his fate was unknown. Participants in the perpetrator-unpunished condition also relied on simpler and more punitive attributional heuristics for inferring responsibility for harm. Copyright # 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
This study examined the effect on pre-adolescent children’s attitudes to bullying of one group-based variable (group status) and two situational variables (rule legitimacy and rule consistency). Pre-adolescent boys (n 1/4 229) read a story about a group of boys who had high or low (handball) status. The legitimacy (high versus low) of the rules governing the use of a handball court, and the extent to which the group’s claim to the court was consistent with the rules (high versus low), were also manipulated. The participants’ liking, causal attribution, deservingness, and punishment responses to an intergroup bullying episode instigated by the group of boys against children from another class indicated that the participants recognised the import of the situational variables and, at least to some extent, took them into account. Nevertheless, the results indicated that the children favoured the bully group, and that their responses systematically reflected this bias. Possible bases for understanding these effects are discussed.
Article
This paper reports an attempt to test 2 interpretations of immanent justice responses as causal attributions rather than as moral judgments. The basic process underlying such attributions was presumed to be the child's understanding of causality. From this framework, a conceptual, developmental model of causal explanations for the contiguity between the misdeed and the adversity in the immanent justice paradigm was developed. In this model, children's explanations are constrained only by their lack of knowledge of naturalistic causes for the adversities and their inability to use causal chains. 4 categories of causal explanation were thereby derived. A developmental study was then undertaken to examine changes in the causal explanations employed at different ages. Significant developmental trends were obtained only in the use of those categories which represent the ability to use causal chains. The most impressive finding in this study was that the majority of older children predominantly used causal chains to explain the contiguity between the misdeed and the adversity. 2 further studies investigated the relationship between category use and the type of adversity to be explained. Overall, the data were interpreted as consistent with an information-processing model of immanent justice responses.
Article
This chapter discusses “deserving” and “emergence” of the theme of justice. The related themes of justice and deserving pervade the entire fabric of a society. The evidence for the importance of the theme of justice in a society can be strikingly juxtaposed against the equally vivid signs of institutionalized injustice and widespread indifference to the fate of innocent victims. Although various theorists have treated the definition in a conceptually more systematic way, “deserving” refers essentially to the relation between a person and his outcomes. A person deserves an outcome if he has met the appropriate “preconditions” for obtaining it. If a person does not get the outcome or gets something judged to be of less value, then he has not received all he deserved. Of course, the outcomes in question can be negative rather than positive in nature. The chapter approaches the more substantive issue of the extent to which people care about justice and the way these concerns affect their lives. It examines the question of why people care at all about justice and deserving. One possibility is suggested by a consideration of a developmental sequence, particularly the transition from living by the “pleasure” principle to living by the “reality” principle. The chapter highlights the development of the “personal contract”, altruism, and forms of justice.
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• As the title suggests, this book examines the psychology of interpersonal relations. In the context of this book, the term "interpersonal relations" denotes relations between a few, usually between two, people. How one person thinks and feels about another person, how he perceives him and what he does to him, what he expects him to do or think, how he reacts to the actions of the other--these are some of the phenomena that will be treated. Our concern will be with "surface" matters, the events that occur in everyday life on a conscious level, rather than with the unconscious processes studied by psychoanalysis in "depth" psychology. These intuitively understood and "obvious" human relations can, as we shall see, be just as challenging and psychologically significant as the deeper and stranger phenomena. The discussion will center on the person as the basic unit to be investigated. That is to say, the two-person group and its properties as a superindividual unit will not be the focus of attention. Of course, in dealing with the person as a member of a dyad, he cannot be described as a lone subject in an impersonal environment, but must be represented as standing in relation to and interacting with another person. The chapter topics included in this book include: Perceiving the Other Person; The Other Person as Perceiver; The Naive Analysis of Action; Desire and Pleasure; Environmental Effects; Sentiment; Ought and Value; Request and Command; Benefit and Harm; and Reaction to the Lot of the Other Person. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) • As the title suggests, this book examines the psychology of interpersonal relations. In the context of this book, the term "interpersonal relations" denotes relations between a few, usually between two, people. How one person thinks and feels about another person, how he perceives him and what he does to him, what he expects him to do or think, how he reacts to the actions of the other--these are some of the phenomena that will be treated. Our concern will be with "surface" matters, the events that occur in everyday life on a conscious level, rather than with the unconscious processes studied by psychoanalysis in "depth" psychology. These intuitively understood and "obvious" human relations can, as we shall see, be just as challenging and psychologically significant as the deeper and stranger phenomena. The discussion will center on the person as the basic unit to be investigated. That is to say, the two-person group and its properties as a superindividual unit will not be the focus of attention. Of course, in dealing with the person as a member of a dyad, he cannot be described as a lone subject in an impersonal environment, but must be represented as standing in relation to and interacting with another person. The chapter topics included in this book include: Perceiving the Other Person; The Other Person as Perceiver; The Naive Analysis of Action; Desire and Pleasure; Environmental Effects; Sentiment; Ought and Value; Request and Command; Benefit and Harm; and Reaction to the Lot of the Other Person. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Third-party observers ( N = 123) learned about a layoff from a newspaper article developed for this study. Two aspects of the layoff procedure were manipulated in the article: (a) the level of input (voice) by layoff victims in the layoff procedure and (b) how the layoff was communicated to the victims. Both variables predicted observers' perceptions of the procedural justice of the layoff. Victim derogation was positively related to observers' procedural fairness of the layoff. Victim derogation also moderated the relationship between the justice manipulations and fairness. Procedural fairness predicted observers' behavioral intentions both as a customer and potential employee. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This chapter begins with the question of what determines how people react to victims and a discussion of the importance people attach to deservingness and justice. The authors briefly review recent theoretical developments regarding the differing effects of the explicit/rational and implicit/experiential cognitive systems. They then explore the influence of automatic and motivated processes on the blaming of victims. A study is described (C. Simons and J. A. Piliavan; see record 1972-08837-001) comparing the reactions of normatively instructed and emotionally engaged observers to innocent victims. Among the results obtained, the introspectively opaque aspect of the preconscious process of threat leading to derogation of victims was documented by the failure of role-playing participants to anticipate that they or other observers would derogate. Finally, the authors describe the emotional experiences of (1) managers in corporations that decide to discharge large numbers of employees and (2) filial caregivers who must institutionalize their parents. These 2 groups are characterized as victims of their moral intuitions. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study examined whether judgments of deservedness of social aid subsequent to the birth of a disabled child vary as a function of prenatal diagnostic testing (PDT) use as predicted by the attribution-affect-action model (Weiner, 1980). A sample of family physicians/obstetricians (n= 341) and a university employee sample (n= 281) made attribution ratings in 3 scenarios in which an at-risk pregnant woman gave birth to a disabled child. The findings indicate that women who chose not to use PDT or who chose to continue the pregnancy following a diagnosis were judged more responsible, more to blame, and less deserving of both sympathy and social aid subsequent to giving birth to a disabled child than were women to whom testing was not made available.
“Do you know why you got sick?” Children's ideas about this and other aspects of illness follow a developmental sequence.
Article
Three studies investigated developmental changes in immanent justice responding by asking participants to respond to vignettes in which a person's bad behaviour was followed by a negative consequence. Study 1 consisted of 152 sixth graders and 128 college students and presented participants with a vignette that examined the notion of bad people deserving to get ill. Study 2 consisted of 185 sixth graders and 154 college students and examined whether children and adults reasoned that that bad behaviour would actually cause the illness. Study 3 consisted of 96 third graders, 115 fifth graders, and 114 college students, and presented participants with vignettes that examined negative behaviours and consequences. Contrary to expectations based on traditional and contemporary developmental theories, all three studies demonstrated more evidence of immanent justice responding among adults than among elementary school children. These results call into question the comprehensiveness of traditional and contemporary developmental theories, and suggest the need to examine cognitive reasoning in adulthood when constructing developmental theories.
Article
Research with the Just World Scale has indicated that many people believe that the world is a place where good people are rewarded and bad people are punished. Believers in a just world have been found to be more likely than nonbelievers to admire fortunate people and to derogate victims, thus permitting the believers to maintain the perception that people in fact get what they deserve. Other studies have shed light on the antecedents, correlates, and social consequences of the belief in a just world. Everyone may have a version of the just world belief in early childhood (Piaget's “immanent justice”), but some people outgrow the belief quickly and some apparently never do. Believers in a just world have been found to be more religious, more authoritarian, and more oriented toward the internal control of reinforcements than nonbelievers. They are also more likely to admire political leaders and existing social institutions, and to have negative attitudes toward underprivileged groups. Suggestions for modifying the belief in a just world are offered, focusing on the socialization techniques employed by parents, teachers, religious institutions, and the mass media.
Article
In the current climate of welfare reform, it is important to understand how perceptions of the poor affect policy decisions. This paper examines how people distinguish between the undeserving poor and the deserving poor, and how this differentiation affects policy decisions. Survey respondents rated each policy in a set of hypothetical policies on a liberal-conservative continuum. Analyses were then conducted to explore differences in the respondents’ likelihood of recommending the most liberal and the most conservative of these policies. Study 1 demonstrated that liberal policies were more likely to be recommended and conservative policies were less likely to be recommended when the target group was perceived to be deserving rather than undeserving. Study 2 replicated this effect of perceived deservingness and demonstrated an effect of attribution of responsibility. That is, liberal policies were more likely to be recommended and conservative policies were less likely to be recommended when the responsibility for the target’s poverty was attributed to society rather than to the individual.
Article
The goal of the present study was to create and validate a global belief in a just world scale and to assess the psychometric properties of the multidimensional just world scale using subjects in the United States. The desirable psychometric properties of the global belief in a just world scale make it a viable alternative to Rubin and Peplau's (Journal of Social Issues, 31, 65–90, 1975) just world scale. Analysis of the multidimensional just world scale suggests that the scale consists of three factors—interpersonal justice, socio-political justice, and cynicism/fatalism—and has poor psychometric properties. Both the global and multidimensional belief in a just world scale correlate positively with trust and internal locus of control.
Article
The present study investigated the belief by Piaget that immanent justice responses occur when fairness judgments override conceptions of physical causality in young (6-8 years) children's understanding of a certain type of story. The structure of Piaget's stimulus stories was analyzed, and they were found to involve 3 narrative elements: motive valence, outcome valence, and causal connection. These 3 factors were crossed to create 8 types of stories, one of which (e.g., a character with a bad motive receives a negative outcome which is noncausally related to the previous motive) was the type used by Piaget. It was predicted that 2 types of stories would yield immanent justice responses: good motive/positive outcome/noncausal and bad motive/negative outcome/noncausal. Subjects received 4 stories and answered the Piagetian immanent justice questions and rated outcome fairness. Subjects were 48 each of children in grades 1, 3, and 5 and 38 college students. Results supported the prediction that children use the belief in a just world in immanent justice judgements.
Article
Under the guise of an experiment on the perception of emotional cues, 72 undergraduate female Ss observed a peer (victim) participating in a paired-associate learning task. The victim, as a result of making the usual errors, appeared to receive severe and painful electric shocks (negative reinforcement). In describing the suffering victim after these observations, Ss rejected and devalued her when they believed that they would continue to see her suffer in a 2nd session, and when they were powerless to alter the victim's fate. Rejection and devaluation were strongest when the victim was viewed as suffering for the sake of Ss ("martyr" condition). These results offer support for the hypothesis that rejection and devaluation of a suffering victim are primarily based on the O's need to believe in a just world.
Article
Evaluated whether preschoolers with cancer are more or less likely than their healthy counterparts to consider illness a form of punishment for misdeeds (immanent justice). It was found that a sample of preschoolers with cancer (n = 17) rejected immanent justice as a general cause of illness, both in themselves and in others, just as frequently as healthy controls (n = 17). Both groups also rejected immanent justice in cases where misbehavior was prolonged. Children with cancer demonstrated a view of illness causality based on greater differentiation between themselves and other people, in that they were more likely than healthy controls to accept immanent justice as a cause of illness in themselves but not others, and vice versa. Finally, nearly all of the children with cancer who accepted immanent justice as a general cause of illness in themselves also attributed their cancer specifically to immanent justice
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The authors investigated three seemingly contradictory views of the conception of illness: (a) the traditional, developmental "naive child" view; (b) a more contemporary, "sophisticated child" outlook; and (c) a largely social-psychological, "irrational adult" approach, They concluded that participants had a variety of views of the conception of illness and that they used different views in different experimental contexts. They found that, under certain conditions, children appeared to have sophisticated beliefs; under other conditions, children, and even adults, showed signs of folkloric and immanent justice reasoning. They also found that, with advancing grade level, children increasingly recognized psychological contributors to the cause of illness.
Article
Ss in this experiment observed 2 people working together at an anagrams task. Ss were told, at the outset, that 1 of the 2 workers was selected by chance to be paid a sizable amount of money for his efforts whereas the other worker was to get nothing. Ss also learned that both workers, though ignorant of their fate, had agreed to do their best. In addition, the 2 workers differed in attractiveness for the Ss––one was considerably more attractive than the other. The major hypotheses of the study were confirmed. Once the outcome was known to the observers they tended to persuade themselves that the person who had been awarded the money by chance had really earned it, after all. Also, when the less attractive worker was selected for payment the performance of the entire group was devalued.
Article
Beginning shortly after the 2nd World War, 3 lines of research associated with relative deprivation, equity theory, and just world contributed to the description of the influence of the justice motive in people's lives. By the late 1960s, these converging lines of research had documented the importance of people's desire for justice; nevertheless, contemporary social psychologists typically portray this justice-driven motivation as simply a manifestation of self-interest. The explanation for this failure to recognize a distinct and important justice motive points to the widespread reliance on research methods that elicit the participant's thoughtfully constructed narratives or role-playing responses. According to recent theoretical advances, these methods generate responses that reflect normative expectations of rational self-interest, and fail to capture the important effects of the emotionally generated imperatives of the justice motive.
Article
This article presents a review and conceptual analysis of the concept of deservingness that incorporates the effects of personal values, perceived responsibility, ingroup-outgroup relations, and like-dislike relations. Selected studies show that reactions to another's success or failure and to the rise or fall of "tall poppies" or high achievers depends on the degree to which the positive or negative outcome is seen to be deserved; that individual differences in personal values and in value syndromes may be assumed to affect deservingness via the subjective values assigned to actions and outcomes; that group membership, status, interpersonal liking-disliking, and perceived moral character also affect judgments of deservingness; and that deservingness is a key variable that mediates how observers react to penalties imposed on the perpetrators of different kinds of offense. It is argued that the inclusion of deservingness goes beyond approaches in which perceived responsibility is accorded central status by adding a further link in the causal chain, thus enabling a more complete consideration of the effects of justice and value variables on how people react to positive and negative outcomes for both self and other.