Getting "Just Deserts" or seeing the "Silver Lining": The relation between judgments of immanent and ultimate justice

Annelie J. Harvey, Mitchell J. Callan

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5 Citations (Scopus)


People can perceive misfortunes as caused by previous bad deeds (immanent justice reasoning) or resulting in ultimate compensation (ultimate justice reasoning). Across two studies, we investigated the relation between these types of justice reasoning and identified the processes (perceptions of deservingness) that underlie them for both others (Study 1) and the self (Study 2). Study 1 demonstrated that observers engaged in more ultimate (vs. immanent) justice reasoning for a "good" victim and greater immanent (vs. ultimate) justice reasoning for a "bad" victim. In Study 2, participants' construals of their bad breaks varied as a function of their self-worth, with greater ultimate (immanent) justice reasoning for participants with higher (lower) self-esteem. Across both studies, perceived deservingness of bad breaks or perceived deservingness of ultimate compensation mediated immanent and ultimate justice reasoning respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101803
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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