Complementary Justice: Effects of "Poor but Happy" and "Poor but Honest" Stereotype Exemplars on System Justification and Implicit Activation of the Justice Motive

Aaron C. Kay, John Jost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

It was hypothesized that exposure to complementary representations of the poor as happier and more honest than the rich would lead to increased support for the status quo. In Study 1, exposure to "poor but happy" and "rich but miserable" stereotype exemplars led people to score higher on a general measure of system justification, compared with people who were exposed to noncomplementary exemplars. Study 2 replicated this effect with "poor but honest" and "rich but dishonest" complementary stereotypes. In Studies 3 and 4. exposure to noncomplementary stereotype exemplars implicitly activated justice concerns, as indicated by faster reaction times to justice-related than neutral words in a lexical decision task. Evidence also suggested that the Protestant work ethic may moderate the effects of stereotype exposure on explicit system justification (but not implicit activation).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)823-837
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume85
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003

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Social Justice
activation
stereotype
justice
Reaction Time
moral philosophy
evidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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title = "Complementary Justice: Effects of {"}Poor but Happy{"} and {"}Poor but Honest{"} Stereotype Exemplars on System Justification and Implicit Activation of the Justice Motive",
abstract = "It was hypothesized that exposure to complementary representations of the poor as happier and more honest than the rich would lead to increased support for the status quo. In Study 1, exposure to {"}poor but happy{"} and {"}rich but miserable{"} stereotype exemplars led people to score higher on a general measure of system justification, compared with people who were exposed to noncomplementary exemplars. Study 2 replicated this effect with {"}poor but honest{"} and {"}rich but dishonest{"} complementary stereotypes. In Studies 3 and 4. exposure to noncomplementary stereotype exemplars implicitly activated justice concerns, as indicated by faster reaction times to justice-related than neutral words in a lexical decision task. Evidence also suggested that the Protestant work ethic may moderate the effects of stereotype exposure on explicit system justification (but not implicit activation).",
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AB - It was hypothesized that exposure to complementary representations of the poor as happier and more honest than the rich would lead to increased support for the status quo. In Study 1, exposure to "poor but happy" and "rich but miserable" stereotype exemplars led people to score higher on a general measure of system justification, compared with people who were exposed to noncomplementary exemplars. Study 2 replicated this effect with "poor but honest" and "rich but dishonest" complementary stereotypes. In Studies 3 and 4. exposure to noncomplementary stereotype exemplars implicitly activated justice concerns, as indicated by faster reaction times to justice-related than neutral words in a lexical decision task. Evidence also suggested that the Protestant work ethic may moderate the effects of stereotype exposure on explicit system justification (but not implicit activation).

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