The role of karmic beliefs in immanent justice reasoning

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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 USA. These results highlight the role that karmic beliefs play in how people reason about the causes of others’ fortunes and misfortunes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Early online date20 Aug 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Aug 2020

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