When deserving translates into causing

The effect of cognitive load on immanent justice reasoning

Mitchell J. Callan, Robbie M. Sutton, Cristina Dovale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In immanent justice reasoning, negative events are attributed to some prior moral failing, even in the absence of a physically plausible causal link between them. Drawing on just-world theory, we examined immanent justice reasoning as an intuitive, deservingness-guided form of causal judgment. Participants were exposed to a story about a man who either did or did not cheat on his wife and who was subsequently injured in a car accident. Under either high or low cognitive load, participants rated the extent to which they believed the accident was the result of the man's prior moral failings. The results showed that participants causally attributed the man's accident to his prior conduct when he was immoral (vs. not immoral) more strongly under high cognitive load. Further, moderated mediation analyses showed that perceived deservingness of the accident mediated the effect of the man's prior immoral behavior on immanent justice attributions more strongly under high cognitive load. These results offer support for the notion that immanent justice attributions reflect an automatic tendency to assume that people get what they deserve.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1100
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume46
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010

Fingerprint

Social Justice
Accidents
accident
justice
attribution
Spouses
mediation
wife
event

Keywords

  • Cognitive load
  • Deservingness
  • Immanent justice
  • Just-world theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

When deserving translates into causing : The effect of cognitive load on immanent justice reasoning. / Callan, Mitchell J.; Sutton, Robbie M.; Dovale, Cristina.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 6, 11.2010, p. 1097-1100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{c218be4489a44a4287d09d6982a2b44d,
title = "When deserving translates into causing: The effect of cognitive load on immanent justice reasoning",
abstract = "In immanent justice reasoning, negative events are attributed to some prior moral failing, even in the absence of a physically plausible causal link between them. Drawing on just-world theory, we examined immanent justice reasoning as an intuitive, deservingness-guided form of causal judgment. Participants were exposed to a story about a man who either did or did not cheat on his wife and who was subsequently injured in a car accident. Under either high or low cognitive load, participants rated the extent to which they believed the accident was the result of the man's prior moral failings. The results showed that participants causally attributed the man's accident to his prior conduct when he was immoral (vs. not immoral) more strongly under high cognitive load. Further, moderated mediation analyses showed that perceived deservingness of the accident mediated the effect of the man's prior immoral behavior on immanent justice attributions more strongly under high cognitive load. These results offer support for the notion that immanent justice attributions reflect an automatic tendency to assume that people get what they deserve.",
keywords = "Cognitive load, Deservingness, Immanent justice, Just-world theory",
author = "Callan, {Mitchell J.} and Sutton, {Robbie M.} and Cristina Dovale",
year = "2010",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.024",
language = "English",
volume = "46",
pages = "1097--1100",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology",
issn = "0022-1031",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - When deserving translates into causing

T2 - The effect of cognitive load on immanent justice reasoning

AU - Callan, Mitchell J.

AU - Sutton, Robbie M.

AU - Dovale, Cristina

PY - 2010/11

Y1 - 2010/11

N2 - In immanent justice reasoning, negative events are attributed to some prior moral failing, even in the absence of a physically plausible causal link between them. Drawing on just-world theory, we examined immanent justice reasoning as an intuitive, deservingness-guided form of causal judgment. Participants were exposed to a story about a man who either did or did not cheat on his wife and who was subsequently injured in a car accident. Under either high or low cognitive load, participants rated the extent to which they believed the accident was the result of the man's prior moral failings. The results showed that participants causally attributed the man's accident to his prior conduct when he was immoral (vs. not immoral) more strongly under high cognitive load. Further, moderated mediation analyses showed that perceived deservingness of the accident mediated the effect of the man's prior immoral behavior on immanent justice attributions more strongly under high cognitive load. These results offer support for the notion that immanent justice attributions reflect an automatic tendency to assume that people get what they deserve.

AB - In immanent justice reasoning, negative events are attributed to some prior moral failing, even in the absence of a physically plausible causal link between them. Drawing on just-world theory, we examined immanent justice reasoning as an intuitive, deservingness-guided form of causal judgment. Participants were exposed to a story about a man who either did or did not cheat on his wife and who was subsequently injured in a car accident. Under either high or low cognitive load, participants rated the extent to which they believed the accident was the result of the man's prior moral failings. The results showed that participants causally attributed the man's accident to his prior conduct when he was immoral (vs. not immoral) more strongly under high cognitive load. Further, moderated mediation analyses showed that perceived deservingness of the accident mediated the effect of the man's prior immoral behavior on immanent justice attributions more strongly under high cognitive load. These results offer support for the notion that immanent justice attributions reflect an automatic tendency to assume that people get what they deserve.

KW - Cognitive load

KW - Deservingness

KW - Immanent justice

KW - Just-world theory

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77956617683&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.024

U2 - 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.024

DO - 10.1016/j.jesp.2010.05.024

M3 - Article

VL - 46

SP - 1097

EP - 1100

JO - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

JF - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

SN - 0022-1031

IS - 6

ER -