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Title:Just world violations prompt beliefs in karmic retribution
Author(s):McDonald, Jack
Advisor(s):Stern, Chadly
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):just world theory
immanent justice
ultimate justice
Abstract:How likely are people to think that someone who perpetrates a crime against another person will experience an adverse event in response? In other words, how much do people believe in karmic retribution? Across three studies, we examined this question in the present research. Participants were randomly assigned to read about a sexual crime that varied in its level of severity (e.g., a man whistles suggestively at a woman vs. a man takes an up-skirt photo of a woman). People who read about more severe crimes thought that a negative event would be more likely to happen to the offender of the crime. Importantly, people thought negative events were more likely to affect offenders of severe crimes even when the event was entirely unrelated to the crime (e.g., getting hit by a car after assaulting a woman), and even if a person did not intentionally create the adverse event (e.g., getting cancer). Dispositional belief in a just world did not consistently moderate the effect of crime severity on the likelihood of negative events. These findings provide novel evidence for the question of how people psychologically manage violations to the belief that the world is fair and just, and provide empirical support that people generally believe in karmic retribution.
Issue Date:2018-06-12
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Jack McDonald
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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