Derogating victims and dehumanizing perpetrators: Functions of two types of beliefs in a just world

Murayama, A.; Miura, A.

The Japanese journal of psychology 86(1): 1-9


DOI: 10.4992/jjpsy.86.13069
Accession: 068501900

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This study defined Belief in Just World (BJW) multidimensionally and investigated the effects of Belief in Immanent Justice (BIJ) and Belief in Ultimate Justice (BUJ) on victim derogation and draconian punishment of perpetrators. Study 1 tested the validity of the multidimensional structure of BJW and demonstrated relationships between BJW and other psychological variables. In Study 2, we measured the reactions to the victim and perpetrator in an injury case reported in a news.article, and evaluated the relationships of these reactions to BIJ and BUJ. The results revealed that BIJ was associated with a preference in draconian punishment of the perpetrator, while BUJ was associated with dissociation from the victim (a type of victim derogation). In addition, as hypothesized, we found that dehumanization of the perpetrator partially mediated the relationship between BIJ and victim derogation. We discussed relationships between the two types of BJW and just-world maintenance strategies in the situation where a victim and a perpetrator are both recognized.