Selective exposure to deserved outcomes

Annelie J. Harvey, Mitchell J. Callan, Robbie M. Sutton, Tom Foulsham, William J. Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Research has shown that people often reinterpret their experiences of others’ harm and suffering to maintain the functional belief that people get what they deserve (e.g., by blaming the victim). Rather than focusing on such reactive responses to harm and suffering, across 7 studies we examined whether people selectively and proactively choose to be exposed to information about deserved rather than undeserved outcomes. We consistently found that participants selectively chose to learn that bad (good) things happened to bad (good) people (Studies 1 to 7)—that is, they selectively exposed themselves to deserved outcomes. This effect was mediated by the perceived deservingness of outcomes (Studies 2 and 3), and was reduced when participants learned that wrongdoers otherwise received “just deserts” for their transgressions (Study 7). Participants were not simply selectively avoiding information about undeserved outcomes but actively sought information about deserved outcomes (Studies 3 and 4), and participants invested effort in this pattern of selective exposure, seeking out information about deserved outcomes even when it was more time-consuming to find than undeserved outcomes (Studies 5 and 6). Taken together, these findings cast light on a more proactive, anticipatory means by which people maintain a commitment to deservingness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-43
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume69
Early online date12 Oct 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2017

Fingerprint

Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Psychological Stress
desert
Research
commitment
experience

Keywords

  • belief in a just world
  • deservingness
  • information seeking
  • selective exposure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Selective exposure to deserved outcomes. / Harvey, Annelie J.; Callan, Mitchell J.; Sutton, Robbie M.; Foulsham, Tom; Matthews, William J.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 69, 31.03.2017, p. 33-43.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Harvey, Annelie J. ; Callan, Mitchell J. ; Sutton, Robbie M. ; Foulsham, Tom ; Matthews, William J. / Selective exposure to deserved outcomes. In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 2017 ; Vol. 69. pp. 33-43.
@article{30f1344554244c63b0da4bc043e00715,
title = "Selective exposure to deserved outcomes",
abstract = "Research has shown that people often reinterpret their experiences of others’ harm and suffering to maintain the functional belief that people get what they deserve (e.g., by blaming the victim). Rather than focusing on such reactive responses to harm and suffering, across 7 studies we examined whether people selectively and proactively choose to be exposed to information about deserved rather than undeserved outcomes. We consistently found that participants selectively chose to learn that bad (good) things happened to bad (good) people (Studies 1 to 7)—that is, they selectively exposed themselves to deserved outcomes. This effect was mediated by the perceived deservingness of outcomes (Studies 2 and 3), and was reduced when participants learned that wrongdoers otherwise received “just deserts” for their transgressions (Study 7). Participants were not simply selectively avoiding information about undeserved outcomes but actively sought information about deserved outcomes (Studies 3 and 4), and participants invested effort in this pattern of selective exposure, seeking out information about deserved outcomes even when it was more time-consuming to find than undeserved outcomes (Studies 5 and 6). Taken together, these findings cast light on a more proactive, anticipatory means by which people maintain a commitment to deservingness.",
keywords = "belief in a just world, deservingness, information seeking, selective exposure",
author = "Harvey, {Annelie J.} and Callan, {Mitchell J.} and Sutton, {Robbie M.} and Tom Foulsham and Matthews, {William J.}",
year = "2017",
month = "3",
day = "31",
doi = "10.1016/j.jesp.2016.10.001",
language = "English",
volume = "69",
pages = "33--43",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology",
issn = "0022-1031",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Selective exposure to deserved outcomes

AU - Harvey, Annelie J.

AU - Callan, Mitchell J.

AU - Sutton, Robbie M.

AU - Foulsham, Tom

AU - Matthews, William J.

PY - 2017/3/31

Y1 - 2017/3/31

N2 - Research has shown that people often reinterpret their experiences of others’ harm and suffering to maintain the functional belief that people get what they deserve (e.g., by blaming the victim). Rather than focusing on such reactive responses to harm and suffering, across 7 studies we examined whether people selectively and proactively choose to be exposed to information about deserved rather than undeserved outcomes. We consistently found that participants selectively chose to learn that bad (good) things happened to bad (good) people (Studies 1 to 7)—that is, they selectively exposed themselves to deserved outcomes. This effect was mediated by the perceived deservingness of outcomes (Studies 2 and 3), and was reduced when participants learned that wrongdoers otherwise received “just deserts” for their transgressions (Study 7). Participants were not simply selectively avoiding information about undeserved outcomes but actively sought information about deserved outcomes (Studies 3 and 4), and participants invested effort in this pattern of selective exposure, seeking out information about deserved outcomes even when it was more time-consuming to find than undeserved outcomes (Studies 5 and 6). Taken together, these findings cast light on a more proactive, anticipatory means by which people maintain a commitment to deservingness.

AB - Research has shown that people often reinterpret their experiences of others’ harm and suffering to maintain the functional belief that people get what they deserve (e.g., by blaming the victim). Rather than focusing on such reactive responses to harm and suffering, across 7 studies we examined whether people selectively and proactively choose to be exposed to information about deserved rather than undeserved outcomes. We consistently found that participants selectively chose to learn that bad (good) things happened to bad (good) people (Studies 1 to 7)—that is, they selectively exposed themselves to deserved outcomes. This effect was mediated by the perceived deservingness of outcomes (Studies 2 and 3), and was reduced when participants learned that wrongdoers otherwise received “just deserts” for their transgressions (Study 7). Participants were not simply selectively avoiding information about undeserved outcomes but actively sought information about deserved outcomes (Studies 3 and 4), and participants invested effort in this pattern of selective exposure, seeking out information about deserved outcomes even when it was more time-consuming to find than undeserved outcomes (Studies 5 and 6). Taken together, these findings cast light on a more proactive, anticipatory means by which people maintain a commitment to deservingness.

KW - belief in a just world

KW - deservingness

KW - information seeking

KW - selective exposure

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85002213717&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2016.10.001

U2 - 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.10.001

DO - 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.10.001

M3 - Article

VL - 69

SP - 33

EP - 43

JO - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

JF - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

SN - 0022-1031

ER -