The Role of Karmic Beliefs in Immanent Justice Reasoning

Emily Taylor, Rachel Clutterbuck, Lois Player, Punit Shah, Mitchell Callan

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Abstract

Karmic belief—the expectation that actions bring about morally congruent outcomes within and across lifetimes—is central to many, particularly Eastern, religions. This research (N = 704) examined whether karmic beliefs and cultural context (predominantly Christian Americans and Hindu Indians) moderated the indirect effect of learning about others’ morally congruent or incongruent negative outcomes on immanent justice reasoning (causally attributing misfortune to someone’s prior misdeeds) through perceived deservingness. Results revealed that the indirect effect of congruency on immanent justice attributions via deservingness was stronger for people higher in karmic beliefs, because they strengthened the effect of congruency on immanent justice attributions and the relationship between deservingness and immanent justice attributions. The indirect effect of congruency on immanent justice attributions through deservingness was also stronger in the United States. These results highlight the role that karmic beliefs play in how people reason about the causes of others’ fortunes and misfortunes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-282
Number of pages5
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Volume14
Issue number2
Early online date20 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2022

Keywords

  • Culture
  • Deservingness
  • Immanent justice reasoning
  • Karma
  • Moderated mediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology

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