The consequences of victim physical attractiveness on reactions to injustice: The role of observers' belief in a just world

Mitchell J. Callan, Nathaniel G. Powell, John H. Ellard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Two studies explored Dion and Dion's (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52, 775-780, 1987) suggestion that the belief in a just world may contribute to the "beauty is good" stereotype. In Study 1, we found that participants rated the death of a woman as more tragic and unfair when she was physically attractive than less attractive. Participants were also more punitive towards agents of harm when the victim was physically attractive. In Study 2, we varied the extent to which a woman suffered from a house fire and asked participants to later recognize the woman's picture among several choices varying in physical attractiveness. Participants who learned that the woman suffered a great deal remembered her to be less physically attractive than when her suffering was minimal. The results are discussed in terms of how the justice motive contributes to the evaluative and moral importance attached to physical attractiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-456
Number of pages24
JournalSocial Justice Research
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007

Keywords

  • Belief in a just world
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Punishment reactions
  • Reconstructive memory
  • Victim derogation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law

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