Please wait a minute...
Advances in Psychological Science    2018, Vol. 26 Issue (12) : 2238-2248     DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.02238
Regular Articles |
Three explanatory perspectives on the root of system justification
Shenlong YANG1,Yongyu GUO2(),Feng YU1(),Tingting RAO1,Liang ZHAO1,Liying XU1
1. Institute of Social Psychology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, 710049, China;
2. School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, 210097, China
Download: PDF(540 KB)   HTML
Export: BibTeX | EndNote | Reference Manager | ProCite | RefWorks     Supporting Info
Guide   
Abstract  

System justification theory proposes that people have the natural tendency to see the current sociopolitical systems as fair and legitimate, which is called system justification. But what are the roots of system justification? Researchers have provided explanations from three distinct perspectives. The cognitive dissonance perspective posits that the tendency to justify the current system exists because people want to alleviate those bad feelings which often arise when they feel the system cannot meet their need. The second perspective is compensatory control, which argues that system justification is derived from a sense of lacking control. By a system-legitimating process one can find a sense of order to cope with the threat of personal control. The third perspective is social cognitive process, which proposes that people express a salient and inherent attributional tendency when explaining socioeconomic disparities. It is the attributional style that serves as a main source of system justification. The future study should include explanatory variables from different theoretical perspectives in one study, draw on the findings of similar fields to explore other possible mechanisms, seek sources of system justification peculiar to Chinese culture, and explore the application issues based on distinguishing positive and negative system justification.

Keywords system justification      cognitive dissonance      compensatory control      social cognition     
ZTFLH:  B849: C91  
Corresponding Authors: Yongyu GUO,Feng YU     E-mail: yyguo@njnu.edu.cn;yufengx@xjtu.edu.cn
Issue Date: 30 October 2018
Service
E-mail this article
E-mail Alert
RSS
Articles by authors
Shenlong YANG
Yongyu GUO
Feng YU
Tingting RAO
Liang ZHAO
Liying XU
Cite this article:   
Shenlong YANG,Yongyu GUO,Feng YU, et al. Three explanatory perspectives on the root of system justification[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2018, 26(12): 2238-2248.
URL:  
http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.02238     OR     http://journal.psych.ac.cn/xlkxjz/EN/Y2018/V26/I12/2238
1 怀默霆 . ( 2009). 中国民众如何看待当前的社会不平等. 社会学研究, ( 1), 96-120.
2 李琼, 刘力 . ( 2011). 低地位群体的外群体偏好. 心理科学进展, 19( 7), 1061-1068.
url: http://www.cqvip.com/QK/71135X/201107/38435107.html
3 柳武妹, 王海忠, 何浏 . ( 2014). 人之将尽, 消费国货? 死亡信息的暴露增加国货选择的现象、中介和边界条件解析. 心理学报, 46( 11), 1748-1759.
4 王甫勤 . ( 2011). 当代中国大城市居民的分配公平感: 一项基于上海的实证研究. 社会, 31( 3), 155-183.
5 杨沈龙 . ( 2017). 不同阶层系统合理信念差异的心理机制:归因与补偿的双重视角 (博士学位论文). 华中师范大学, 武汉.
6 杨沈龙, 郭永玉, 胡小勇, 舒首立, 李静 . ( 2016). 低阶层者的系统合理化水平更高吗?——基于社会认知视角的考察. 心理学报, 48( 11), 1467-1478.
url: http://www.cqvip.com/QK/90117X/201611/670710930.html
7 Baryla W., Wojciszke B., & Cichocka A . ( 2015). Legitimization and delegitimization of social hierarchy. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 6( 6), 669-676.
8 Beierlein, C. ( 2014). System-Justifying Ideologies. In Michalos, A. C.( Ed.), Encyclopedia of quality of life and well-being research
9 Beierlein C., Werner C. S., Preiser S., & Wermuth S . ( 2011). Are just-world beliefs compatible with justifying inequality? Collective political efficacy as a moderator. Social Justice Research, 24( 3), 278-296.
url: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11211-011-0139-2
10 Bonnot, V., &Jost, J.T . ( 2014). Divergent effects of system justification salience on the academic self-assessments of men and women. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 17( 4), 453-464.
11 Brown-Iannuzzi J. L., Lundberg K. B., Kay A. C., & Payne B. K . ( 2015). Subjective status shapes political preferences. Psychological Science, 26( 1), 15-26.
pmid: 25416138 url: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/25416138
12 Cichocka, A., &Jost, J.T . ( 2014). Stripped of illusions? Exploring system justification processes in capitalist and post-Communist societies. International Journal of Psychology, 49( 1), 6-29.
pmid: 24811719 url: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-12910-002
13 Cimpian, A., &Salomon, E . ( 2014 a). The inherence heuristic: An intuitive means of making sense of the world, and a potential precursor to psychological essentialism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37( 5), 461-480.
pmid: 24826999 url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24826999
14 Cimpian, A., &Salomon, E . ( 2014 b). Refining and expanding the proposal of an inherence heuristic in human understanding. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37( 5), 506-527.
pmid: 25548815 url: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-45476-031
15 Day, M.V., &Fiske, S.T . (2017). Movin’on up? How perceptions of social mobility affect our willingness to defend the system. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8( 3), 267-274.
16 Festinger, L (1957 ). A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
url: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1993-97948-000
17 Friesen J. P., Kay A. C., Eibach R. P., & Galinsky A. D . ( 2014). Seeking structure in social organization: Compensatory control and the psychological advantages of hierarchy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106( 4), 590-609.
pmid: 24512510 url: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2014-04304-001/
18 Gawronski, B. ( 2004). Theory-based bias correction in dispositional inference: The fundamental attribution error is dead, long live the correspondence bias. European Review of Social Psychology, 15( 1), 183-217.
19 Greenaway K. H., Haslam S. A., Cruwys T., Branscombe N. R., Ysseldyk R., & Heldreth C . ( 2015). From “we” to “me”: Group identification enhances perceived personal control with consequences for health and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109( 1), 53-74.
pmid: 25938701 url: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2015-19621-001
20 Huddy L., Feldman S., Capelos T., & Provost C . ( 2002). The consequences of terrorism: Disentangling the effects of personal and national threat. Political Psychology, 23( 3), 485-509.
url: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2002-18522-005
21 Hussak, L.J., &Cimpian, A . ( 2015). An early-emerging explanatory heuristic promotes support for the status quo. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109( 5), 739-752.
url: http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/26348600
22 Iatridis, T., &Fousiani, K . ( 2009). Effects of status and outcome on attributions and just-world beliefs: How the social distribution of success and failure may be rationalized. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45( 2), 415-420.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103108002400
23 Jolley D., Douglas K. M., & Sutton R. M . ( 2018). Blaming a few bad apples to save a threatened barrel: The system- justifying function of conspiracy theories. Political Psychology, 39( 2), 465-478.
url: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12404/pdf
24 Jost, J.T. ( 2015). Resistance to change: A social psychological perspective. Social Research: An International Quarterly, 82( 3), 607-636.
url: http://muse.jhu.edu/article/603152
25 Jost, J.T. ( 2017a). A theory of system justification: Is there a nonconscious tendency to defend, bolster and justify aspects of the societal status quo?. Psychological Science Agenda. Retrieved from
url: http://www.apa.org/science/ about/psa/2017/06/system-justification.aspx
26 Jost, J.T. ( 2017 b). Working class conservatism: A system justification perspective. Current Opinion in Psychology, 18, 73-78.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X1730221X
27 Jost, J.T., &Banaji, M.R . ( 1994). The role of stereotyping in system-justification and the production of false consciousness. British Journal of Social Psychology, 33( 1), 1-27.
28 Jost J. T., Banaji M. R., & Nosek B. A . ( 2004). A decade of system justification theory: Accumulated evidence of conscious and unconscious bolstering of the status quo. Political Psychology, 25( 6), 881-919.
url: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3792282
29 Jost J. T., Becker J., Osborne D., & Badaan V . ( 2017). Missing in (collective) action: Ideology, system justification, and the motivational antecedents of two types of protest behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26( 2), 99-108.
30 Jost, J.T., &Burgess, D . ( 2000). Attitudinal ambivalence and the conflict between group and system justification motives in low status groups. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26( 3), 293-305.
31 Jost J. T., Hawkins C. B., Nosek B. A., Hennes E. P., Stern C., Gosling S. D., & Graham J . ( 2014). Belief in a just God (and a just society): A system justification perspective on religious ideology. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 34( 1), 56-81.
url: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/teo/34/1/56/
32 Jost, J.T., &Hunyady, O . ( 2005). Antecedents and consequences of system-justifying ideologies. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14( 5), 260-265.
url: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2005-13854-008
33 Jylhä, K.M., &Akrami, N . ( 2015). Social dominance orientation and climate change denial: The role of dominance and system justification. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 108-111.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886915003827
34 Kay, A.C., &Brandt, M.J . ( 2016). Ideology and intergroup inequality: Emerging directions and trends. Current Opinion in Psychology, ( 11), 110-114.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X16301026
35 Kay, A.C., &Eibach, R.P . ( 2013). Compensatory control and its implications for ideological extremism. Journal of Social Issues, 69( 3), 564-585.
url: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josi.12029/full
36 Kay, A.C., &Friesen, J . ( 2011). On social stability and social change understanding: When system justification does and does not occur. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 20( 6), 360-364.
url: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-28626-004
37 Kay A. C., Gaucher D., Napier J. L., Callan M. J., & Laurin K . ( 2008). God and the government: Testing a compensatory control mechanism for the support of external systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95( 1), 18-35.
pmid: 18605849 url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18605849
38 Kay A. C., Gaucher D., Peach J. M., Laurin K., Friesen J., Zanna M. P., & Spencer S. J . ( 2009). Inequality, discrimination, and the power of the status quo: Direct evidence for a motivation to see the way things are as the way they should be. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97( 3), 421-434.
pmid: 19685999 url: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/97/3/421
39 Kay, A.C., &Jost, J.T . ( 2014). Theoretical integration in motivational science: System justification as one of many “autonomous motivational structures”. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37( 2), 146-147.
pmid: 24775133 url: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/24775133
40 Kay A. C., Shepherd S., Blatz C. W., Chua S. N., & Galinsky A. D . ( 2010). For God (or) country: The hydraulic relation between government instability and belief in religious sources of control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99( 5), 725-739.
pmid: 20954784 url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20954784
41 Kraus, M.W., &Tan, J. J.X . ( 2015). Americans overestimate social class mobility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 58, 101-111.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103115000062
42 Landau M. J., Kay A. C., & Whitson J. A . ( 2015). Compensatory control and the appeal of a structured world. Psychological Bulletin, 141( 3), 694-722.
pmid: 25688696 url: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/25688696
43 Laurin K., Kay A. C., Proudfoot D., & Fitzsimons G. J . ( 2013). Response to restrictive policies: Reconciling system justification and psychological reactance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 122( 2), 152-162.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597813000691
44 Laurin K., Shepherd S., & Kay A. C . ( 2010). Restricted emigration, system inescapability, and defense of the status quo: System-justifying consequences of restricted exit opportunities. Psychological Science, 21( 8), 1075-1082.
pmid: 20585053 url: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2010-23598-007
45 Liviatan, I., &Jost, J.T . ( 2014). A social-cognitive analysis of system justification goal striving. Social Cognition, 32( 2), 95-129.
url: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-11503-001
46 Ma, A., &Kay, A.C . ( 2017). Compensatory control and ambiguity intolerance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 140, 46-61.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597816304277
47 McCoy S. K., Wellman J. D., Cosley B., Saslow L., & Epel E . ( 2013). Is the belief in meritocracy palliative for members of low status groups? Evidence for a benefit for self-esteem and physical health via perceived control. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43( 4), 307-318.
pmid: 3769703 url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24039310
48 Morris, M.W., &Peng, K . ( 1994). Culture and cause: American and Chinese attributions for social and physical events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67( 6), 949-971.
49 Napier, J.L., &Jost, J.T . ( 2008). Why are conservatives happier than liberals?. Psychological Science, 19( 6), 565-572.
pmid: 18578846 url: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40064955
50 Ng, S.H., &Allen, M.W . ( 2005). Perception of economic distributive justice: Exploring leading theories. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 33( 5), 435-454.
url: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/sbp/sbp/2005/00000033/00000005/art00002
51 Osborne, D., &Sibley, C.G . ( 2013). Through rose-colored glasses: System-justifying beliefs dampen the effects of relative deprivation on well-being and political mobilization. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39( 8), 991-1004.
pmid: 23719621 url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23719621
52 Owuamalam C. K., Rubin M., & Issmer C . ( 2016). Reactions to group devaluation and social inequality: A comparison of social identity and system justification predictions. Cogent Psychology, 3( 1), 1188442.
url: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23311908.2016.1188442
53 Owuamalam C. K., Rubin M., Spears R., & Weerabangsa M. M . ( 2017). Why do people from low-status groups support class systems that disadvantage them? A test of two mainstream explanations in Malaysia and Australia. Journal of Social Issues, 73( 1), 80-98.
url: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/josi.12205/full
54 Proulx T., Inzlicht M., & Harmon-Jones E . ( 2012). Understanding all inconsistency compensation as a palliative response to violated expectations. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16( 5), 285-291.
pmid: 22516239 url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22516239
55 Rutjens B. T., van Harreveld F ., & van der Pligt, J.( 2013). Step by step: Finding compensatory order in science. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 22( 3), 250-255.
56 Shariff A. F., Wiwad D., & Aknin L. B . ( 2016). Income mobility breeds tolerance for income inequality: Cross-national and experimental evidence. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11( 3), 373-380.
pmid: 27217250 url: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27217250
57 Shepherd S., Eibach R. P., & Kay A. C . ( 2017). “One nation under god”: The system-justifying function of symbolically aligning god and government. Political Psychology, 38( 5), 703-720.
url: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12353/abstract
58 Shepherd S., Kay A. C., Landau M. J., & Keefer L. A . ( 2011). Evidence for the specificity of control motivations in worldview defense: Distinguishing compensatory control from uncertainty management and terror management processes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47( 5), 949-958.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103111000916
59 Tajfel, H., &Turner, J.C . ( 1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behavior. In S. Worchel & W. G. Austin (Eds.), The Psychology of Intergroup Relations( pp. 7-24). Chicago: Nelson-Hall.
url: http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2004-13697-016
60 Tan X., Liu L., Huang Z., Zheng W., & Liang Y . ( 2016). The effects of general system justification on corruption perception and intent. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1107.
pmid: 4960914 url: http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC4960914/
61 Ullrich, J., &Cohrs, J.C . ( 2007). Terrorism salience increases system justification: Experimental evidence. Social Justice Research, 20( 2), 117-139.
url: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11211-007-0035-y
62 van der Toorn J., Feinberg M., Jost J. T., Kay A. C., Tyler T. R., Willer R., & Wilmuth C . ( 2015). A sense of powerlessness fosters system justification: Implications for the legitimation of authority, hierarchy, and government. Political Psychology, 36( 1), 93-110.
url: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/pops.12183/full
63 van der Toorn,J ., &Jost, J.T . ( 2014). Twenty years of system justification theory: Introduction to the special issue on “Ideology and system justification processes”. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 17( 4), 413-419.
64 van der Toorn J., Nail P. R., Liviatan I., & Jost J. T . ( 2014). My country, right or wrong: Does activating system justification motivation eliminate the liberal-conservative gap in patriotism?. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 54, 50-60.
url: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103114000456
65 Willer, R. ( 2004). The effects of government-issued terror warnings on presidential approval ratings. Current Research in Social Psychology, 10( 1), 1-12.
[1] CHEN Lin, TIAN Xiaoming, DUAN Jinyun. The cognitive mechanism of advice taking[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2019, 27(1): 149-159.
[2] LI Wenqi, ZHANG Mengyuan, KOU Yu.  Political orientation and its changing mechanism[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2018, 26(3): 549-559.
[3] ZHAO Yixin, SHI Xiaoran, SHI Huiying.  The effects of superior outcome of the foregone option on the relationship between responsibility and regret[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2018, 26(1): 56-61.
[4] YUE Tong, HUANG Xiting, LIU Guangyuan.  Sex-related differences in the effects of Oxytocin on human social cognition[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2017, 25(12): 2157-2167.
[5] Fan Wei; Zhong Yiping; Fu Xiaolan. The influence of self-control on deception[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2016, 24(7): 997-1008.
[6] PAN Wei; CHEN Wei; WANG Yin; SHAN Chun-lei. The myth of broken mirror theory of autism: Origins, problems and prospects[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2016, 24(6): 958-973.
[7] JIA Lei; ZHU Shurong; ZHANG Changjie; ZHANG Qinglin. The distributed semantic representation and activation processes of the implicit and explicit stereotypes: An examination based on the perspective of cognitive neuroscience[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2016, 24(10): 1519-1533.
[8] LIU Yan; GU Chuanhua. Interpersonal Sensitivity: From Social Cognition to Psychological Risk Factor[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(3): 489-495.
[9] YANG Ziyan; LIU Yunzhi; YU Zhenkun; CAI Huajian. Applications of Implicit Association Test[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(11): 1966-1980.
[10] WU Jinfeng; WANG Yu; CHEN Hong; HUANG Junfeng. From Self to Social Cognition: The Default Mode Network and Mirror-Neuron System[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(10): 1808-1817.
[11] HUANG Jun; LI Ye; ZHANG Hongwei. The Application and Development of Construal Level Theory[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2015, 23(1): 110-119.
[12] DAI Taotao;ZUO Bin;WEN Fangfang. The Compensation Effect between Warmth and Competence in Social Cognition[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2014, 22(3): 502-511.
[13] LI Yu; WANG Pei; SUN Lianrong. The Evolution, Tendency, and Theoretical Construction of Chinese Social Cognition Research[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2014, 22(11): 1691-1707.
[14] JIANG Yushi;WU Yin. Testosterone and Human Social Behavior[J]. Advances in Psychological Science, 2013, 21(11): 1956-1966.
[15] WU Xiu-Liang;XU Fu-Ming;WANG Wei;MA Xiang-Yang;KUANG Hai-Min. The Confirmation Bias in Judgment and Decision Making[J]. , 2012, 20(7): 1080-1088.
Viewed
Full text


Abstract

Cited

  Shared   
  Discussed   
Copyright © Advances in Psychological Science
Support by Beijing Magtech