How Much Does Effortful Thinking Underlie Observers’ Reactions to Victimization?

Annelie J. Harvey, Mitchell J. Callan, William J. Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


From blaming to helping innocent victims, just-world research has revealed that observers react to victimization in a variety of ways. Recent research suggests that such responses to victimization require effortful thought, whereas other research has shown that people can react to these situations intuitively. Along with manipulating just-world threat, across seven experiments, we manipulated or measured participants’ level of mental processing before assessing judgments of victim derogation, blame, willingness to help, and ultimate justice reasoning. The effect of just-world threat on these responses held constant over a range of manipulations/measures, suggesting that the processes involved in maintaining a belief in a just world are not restricted to the rational, deliberative level of mental processing but also occur intuitively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-208
Number of pages34
JournalSocial Justice Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • Belief in a just world
  • Cognitive load
  • Intuitive/experiential thinking
  • Rational/deliberative thinking
  • Victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'How Much Does Effortful Thinking Underlie Observers’ Reactions to Victimization?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this