Foregoing the labor for the fruits: The effect of just world threat on the desire for immediate monetary rewards

Mitchell J. Callan, N. Will Shead, James M Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous theorizing and research suggest that the need to believe in a just world develops when children begin to understand the benefits of foregoing their immediate gratifications for more desirable, long-term outcomes. Drawing on this previous work, we propose that an extant just world threat may induce a desire for smaller, immediate rewards at the expense of larger, delayed rewards. Participants were exposed to the suffering of an innocent or non-innocent victim and then, in a different context, completed a temporal discounting task that assessed, across six time delays, their preferences for smaller, immediate monetary rewards versus a constant, larger, delayed reward. Consistent with our reasoning, participants exposed to the suffering of an innocent versus non-innocent victim more steeply discounted the value of the delayed reward-that is, they were willing to accept smaller immediate rewards in place of the larger, delayed reward. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-249
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Delay of gratification
  • Justice motivation
  • Temporal discounting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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