Moral outrage mediates the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistributive social policies

Cheryl J. Wakslak, John Jost, Tom R. Tyler, Emmeline S. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To understand how and why people tolerate ongoing social and economic inequality, we conducted two studies investigating the hypothesis that system justification is associated with reduced emotional distress and a lack of support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 1, we found that the endorsement of a system-justifying ideology was negatively associated with moral outrage, existential guilt, and support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 2, the induction of a system-justification mind-set through exposure to "rags-to-riches" narratives decreased moral outrage, negative affect, and therefore intentions to help the disadvantaged. In both studies, moral outrage (outward-focused distress) was found to mediate the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistribution, whereas existential guilt (Study 1) or negative affect in general (Study 2; inward-focused distress) did not. Thus, system-justifying ideology appears to undercut the redistribution of social and economic resources by alleviating moral outrage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Science
Volume18
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Fingerprint

Vulnerable Populations
Public Policy
Guilt
Economics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Moral outrage mediates the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistributive social policies. / Wakslak, Cheryl J.; Jost, John; Tyler, Tom R.; Chen, Emmeline S.

In: Psychological Science, Vol. 18, No. 3, 03.2007, p. 267-274.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wakslak, Cheryl J. ; Jost, John ; Tyler, Tom R. ; Chen, Emmeline S. / Moral outrage mediates the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistributive social policies. In: Psychological Science. 2007 ; Vol. 18, No. 3. pp. 267-274.
@article{a2f19b7e6a9a4378b872925bb5538108,
title = "Moral outrage mediates the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistributive social policies",
abstract = "To understand how and why people tolerate ongoing social and economic inequality, we conducted two studies investigating the hypothesis that system justification is associated with reduced emotional distress and a lack of support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 1, we found that the endorsement of a system-justifying ideology was negatively associated with moral outrage, existential guilt, and support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 2, the induction of a system-justification mind-set through exposure to {"}rags-to-riches{"} narratives decreased moral outrage, negative affect, and therefore intentions to help the disadvantaged. In both studies, moral outrage (outward-focused distress) was found to mediate the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistribution, whereas existential guilt (Study 1) or negative affect in general (Study 2; inward-focused distress) did not. Thus, system-justifying ideology appears to undercut the redistribution of social and economic resources by alleviating moral outrage.",
author = "Wakslak, {Cheryl J.} and John Jost and Tyler, {Tom R.} and Chen, {Emmeline S.}",
year = "2007",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01887.x",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "18",
pages = "267--274",
journal = "Psychological Science",
issn = "0956-7976",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Moral outrage mediates the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistributive social policies

AU - Wakslak, Cheryl J.

AU - Jost, John

AU - Tyler, Tom R.

AU - Chen, Emmeline S.

PY - 2007/3

Y1 - 2007/3

N2 - To understand how and why people tolerate ongoing social and economic inequality, we conducted two studies investigating the hypothesis that system justification is associated with reduced emotional distress and a lack of support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 1, we found that the endorsement of a system-justifying ideology was negatively associated with moral outrage, existential guilt, and support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 2, the induction of a system-justification mind-set through exposure to "rags-to-riches" narratives decreased moral outrage, negative affect, and therefore intentions to help the disadvantaged. In both studies, moral outrage (outward-focused distress) was found to mediate the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistribution, whereas existential guilt (Study 1) or negative affect in general (Study 2; inward-focused distress) did not. Thus, system-justifying ideology appears to undercut the redistribution of social and economic resources by alleviating moral outrage.

AB - To understand how and why people tolerate ongoing social and economic inequality, we conducted two studies investigating the hypothesis that system justification is associated with reduced emotional distress and a lack of support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 1, we found that the endorsement of a system-justifying ideology was negatively associated with moral outrage, existential guilt, and support for helping the disadvantaged. In Study 2, the induction of a system-justification mind-set through exposure to "rags-to-riches" narratives decreased moral outrage, negative affect, and therefore intentions to help the disadvantaged. In both studies, moral outrage (outward-focused distress) was found to mediate the dampening effect of system justification on support for redistribution, whereas existential guilt (Study 1) or negative affect in general (Study 2; inward-focused distress) did not. Thus, system-justifying ideology appears to undercut the redistribution of social and economic resources by alleviating moral outrage.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=34247212814&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=34247212814&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01887.x

DO - 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01887.x

M3 - Article

VL - 18

SP - 267

EP - 274

JO - Psychological Science

JF - Psychological Science

SN - 0956-7976

IS - 3

ER -