心理科学进展, 2018, 26(12): 2238-2248 doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.02238

研究前沿

系统合理化何以形成——三种不同的解释视角

杨沈龙1, 郭永玉,2, 喻丰,1, 饶婷婷1, 赵靓1, 许丽颖1

1. 西安交通大学人文社会科学学院社会心理学研究所, 西安 710049

2. 南京师范大学心理学院, 南京 210097

Three explanatory perspectives on the root of system justification

YANG Shenlong1, GUO Yongyu,2, YU Feng,1, RAO Tingting1, ZHAO Liang1, XU Liying1

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

通讯作者: 郭永玉, E-mail: yyguo@njnu.edu.cn; 喻丰, E-mail: yufengx@xjtu.edu.cn

收稿日期: 2017-10-17   网络出版日期: 2018-12-15

基金资助: *教育部人文社会科学研究青年基金项目.  18YJC19 0029
中国博士后科学基金面上项目资助.  2017M623138

Received: 2017-10-17   Online: 2018-12-15

摘要

系统合理化理论认为, 人们会自然地将其所在的社会系统感知为公平合理的, 这一倾向即系统合理化。而系统合理化形成之原因, 一直是该领域理论和研究关注的重点。为此, 研究者先后提出了三种解释思路。认知失调视角认为, 系统合理化之所以产生是因为个体想要缓解因系统无法满足他们的需求而产生的焦虑。补偿性控制视角认为, 系统合理化源于个体自身控制感的缺乏。社会认知视角则认为人们固有的认知倾向特别是对于社会经济差异的内归因倾向是造成系统合理化的根源。未来可以考虑在同一个研究中包含来自于不同理论视角的解释变量, 借鉴相近领域的发现探索其他可能存在的系统合理化的形成机制, 探究中国文化特有的系统合理化的来源, 同时对积极的合理化与消极的合理化作出区分, 并在此基础上针对社会现实问题加强应用研究的开展。

关键词: 系统合理化 ; 认知失调 ; 补偿性控制 ; 社会认知

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

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本文引用格式

杨沈龙, 郭永玉, 喻丰, 饶婷婷, 赵靓, 许丽颖. (2018). 系统合理化何以形成——三种不同的解释视角. 心理科学进展, 26(12), 2238-2248

YANG Shenlong, GUO Yongyu, YU Feng, RAO Tingting, ZHAO Liang, XU Liying. (2018). Three explanatory perspectives on the root of system justification. Advances in Psychological Science, 26(12), 2238-2248

1 系统合理化

严峻的贫富分化问题已成为世界许多国家共同面临的挑战, 也引发了心理学研究者越来越多的关注, 很多从心理层面来探讨不平等问题的研究随之大量涌现(Kay & Brandt, 2016)。在这一领域的相对早期研究中, 社会认同理论(social identity theory)的视角和逻辑被大量研究者所遵循。该理论强调个体有增强和维持自己自尊的需要, 而对于自我所属的内群体的认同以及对于内群体和外群体的比较, 会在很大程度上影响他们对自身价值的感知。这就使得个体需要对于自己所在群体维持一种积极的评价, 所以他们在群体过程中也会更倾向于根据自身和自我所在群体的利益, 形成特定的心理和行为倾向(e.g., Tajfel & Turner, 1986)。

社会认同理论在社会不平等与群体关系等问题上具有广泛的解释力。例如, 很多研究发现弱势群体因感受到相对剥夺而产生集群行动(e.g., Osborne & Sibley, 2013), 社会上层更加支持减少社会福利的政策(e.g., Brown-Iannuzzi, Lundberg, Kay, & Payne, 2015)等, 这都是个体基于社会认同, 形成对自我利益的感知, 进而引发相应的表现。但是随着研究的深入, 有研究者发现个体也常会有一些违背自我和内群体利益的现象, 这是社会认同理论难以解释的。例如女性会接受他人对女性持有的负面刻板印象(Bonnot & Jost, 2014), 组织中的无权力者更认可该组织中权威者的合法性(van der Toorn et al., 2015), 弱势群体对于外群体产生更强烈的偏好(李琼, 刘力, 2011)等等。这又是为什么呢?为了解释诸如此类的现象, 学者Jost和Banaji (1994)提出了系统合理化理论(system justification theory)。

系统合理化理论认为, 人类除了要认可自我、认同内群体, 还会存在一种认可系统合理性的倾向, 即愿意去相信他们所在的社会系统及其运行现状是公正的, 同时有意识或无意识地为现存制度和体系作辩护, 哪怕这与其自身利益相冲突, 也无论客观上社会系统究竟公正与否(e.g., Jost & Banaji, 1994; Jost, Banaji, & Nosek, 2004; van der Toorn & Jost, 2014)。该理论称这一倾向为系统合理化(system justification)。需要说明的是, 系统合理化这一概念囊括的范围非常广泛, 它被认为是个体一系列认为现状公平合理、支持与维护现存体制的心理和行为倾向的集合(e.g., Jost et al., 2014; Jost & Hunyady, 2005)。很多该领域的相关概念都被视为系统合理化的具体表现, 例如公正世界信念(belief in a just world)——即相信所处的世界是公正的, 人们得其所应得、所得即应得——就被认为是系统合理化的范畴(e.g., Jost et al., 2014)。再如社会支配倾向, 其定义是个体对社会等级制度和社会不平等的偏好程度, 因为社会等级与不平等存在于几乎所有现存社会体系当中, 所以较高的社会支配倾向也一直被视作系统合理化的一种表现形式(e.g., Beierlein, 2014; Jost & Hunyady, 2005)。

系统合理化理论为解释一系列社会态度和社会行动提供了有效的视角(Jost, 2015)。不过随着研究的深入, 越来越多的学者开始刨根问底——这种心理到底是如何产生和维持的?一般而言, 社会意识取决于社会存在, 那么如果在明显不合理的系统中, 民众还持有系统合理化的倾向, 又该如何解释呢?显然, 这一问题不仅关乎系统合理化理论能否进一步确立和深化, 而且它关系到人们对于现存系统和体制的态度及其成因, 对于社会治理有很强的实践意义。因此, 近年来研究者一直致力于探索系统合理化形成的心理根源, 并先后提出了三种主要的理论视角来揭示此问题。

2 基于认知失调的解释视角

2.1 理论观点

基于认知失调的解释视角是系统合理化理论提出最早的理论思路, Jost和Banaji (1994)通过引入认知失调理论(cognitive dissonance theory)来阐述人为何会产生系统合理化。认知失调理论认为, 个体在社会生活中常常会遇到与自己固有观念不协调、不一致的信息, 即产生认知失调, 继而造成个体的焦虑并引发不适感, 因此个体会有一种需求来降低这种焦虑情绪, 缓解不适。为此, 个体常常会无意识地调整自己已有的认知框架, 来使自己的认知重新达到协调的状态, 舒缓负性的情绪(Festinger, 1957; Proulx, Inzlicht, & Harmon-Jones, 2012)。在生活中, 这种通过调整认知来减轻失调感的例子很多, 例如当一个吸烟成瘾者接触到吸烟有害的信息时, 为了避免认知失调, 他会极力否认吸烟的危害; 再如研究发现, 那些感到自己难以转学的学生, 为了减轻失调感, 会调整自己的认知进而表现出对于自己学校更强烈的认可(Laurin, Shepherd, & Kay, 2010)。系统合理化理论将这一观点应用于个体加工社会系统的过程中, 它主张个体之所以会自然地认可社会系统的合理性, 就是因为他们想避免出现认知失调的状况, 因为个人生活在社会系统当中, 会对于社会系统产生多种期待和需求, 当他们有意识或无意识地感到系统可能无法满足自己某一方面的预期时, 则会产生关于系统的焦虑情绪; 又因为社会系统的现状常常是个人无力去改变的, 所以如若坚持持有对社会系统不满的情绪, 个人就很容易长期面临焦虑与压抑的困扰。此时, 认知失调理论所强调的心理调节机制就会起作用, 即个体会调整自己已有的认知框架, 通过让自己相信系统的合理性, 来使自己的认知重新达到协调的状态, 缓解不适的情绪体验(e.g., Jost & Banaji, 1994; Kay & Jost, 2014)。所以长此以往, 对于绝大多数人来说, 相信系统的公平正当、为系统做合理化的辩护就成了一种稳定的心理倾向。

当然, 系统合理化理论的研究者为了探讨认知失调理论能否推广到个体对于社会系统的态度上, 也做了一些研究来论证这一问题。例如他们的研究发现, 当被试产生关于社会系统的焦虑情绪时, 被试的系统合理化水平会提升(e.g., Jost & Burgess, 2000)。还有研究从另一个侧面发现, 当认可了系统的合理性之后, 个体会产生更多的积极情绪和更少的消极情绪(e.g., Napier & Jost, 2008)。另外, 该理论还特别说明, 个人对于社会系统做合理化的加工并非源于个人经济水平的上升(Jost, 2017a)。不过, 仅仅通过这些依据, 似乎还不充足, 因为这一理论视角的关键点在于, 当社会系统在某些方面无法满足个体需求时, 个体反而会更加支持系统, 认可系统的合理性。这一看似奇怪的逻辑也正是该理论最有魅力之处。所以从根本来说, 认知失调视角所关注的系统合理化的源头在于个体与系统的矛盾, 也正因如此, 基于这一视角的实证研究大多将系统不能满足个体的某些需求作为前因变量, 而将系统合理化作为结果变量, 考察二者之间的关系。下面将逐一介绍这些研究。

2.2 实证研究

研究发现当被试感知到系统受到了来自外部的威胁时, 其系统合理化倾向会得以显现。系统威胁(system threat)包括了能够对于系统稳定和合法性造成危害的自然和社会事件, 这些威胁会使个体感到焦虑, 而克服焦虑最好的办法就是通过认可系统的合法与强大, 使自己的情绪重归协调。研究表明, 在911恐怖事件之后, 美国民众由于对外部威胁感到恐惧, 而导致他们对于总统、国会的支持率有了显著提高(Huddy, Feldman, Capelos, & Provost, 2002)。后来的研究也显示, 无论是在调查中(Willer, 2004), 还是在实验室里(Ullrich & Cohrs, 2007), 当提及恐怖主义时, 美国人都会表现出拥护政府当局, 支持系统现状的倾向。最近的一项研究(Jolley, Douglas, & Sutton, 2018)则更进一步将人们的阴谋论信念与威胁感及系统合理化相联系, 发现人们越是倾向于将社会重大事件的始作俑者归结为那些不为人所知的、邪恶的秘密力量, 就会表现出对于国家、政府和体制越强烈的支持态度。

系统依赖(system dependence)也被认为是可以诱发系统合理化的重要前因, 也就是说, 当个体感知到自己生活的很多重要方面都与系统息息相关, 受到系统的重要影响时, 他们的系统合理化倾向就会突显。Kay等(2009)的研究为此提供了直接的证据, 研究者通过让被试阅读材料, 来启动他们对于联邦政府的依赖感, 结果发现这一部分被试会更加支持政府现行的基金分配方案; 同理, 当启动学生被试感到他们依赖于自己的学校时, 学生也会表现出对于学校政策更强烈的支持。除了政府和学校层面, 后来的研究者也发现这种因依赖而导致的合理化同样可以出现在公司组织系统中, 公司员工越感到自己依赖于这家公司, 就会对于公司及其管理者的正当性表现出越强烈的认同(Van der Toorn et al., 2015)。由于系统依赖引发系统合理化的效应得到了学者们一致的认可, 所以在该领域的实验中常常通过启动被试感到自己依赖于社会系统, 来操纵其系统合理化, 这已成为了启动系统合理化最常用的一种实验范式(e.g., van der Toorn, Nail, Liviatan, Jost, 2014)。

系统不可脱离性(system inescapability)是另一个被关注较多的系统合理化的诱发原因。与系统威胁、系统依赖的效应类似, 当个体感知到自己很难摆脱自己所处的社会系统时, 会产生一种对于系统的潜在焦虑, 进而通过自我调节, 增强对于系统合理性的认可(Kay & Friesen, 2011)。例如在Kay等(2009)的研究中, 一组被试被告知当前移民国外的难度越来越大(不可脱离组), 而另一组被试则收到的是移民越来越容易的信息(可脱离组), 之后向被试展现当前社会收入不平等的材料, 结果发现不可脱离组对不平等的支持程度显著高于可脱离组。另一个以大学生为被试的研究也发现了类似的效应, 研究者通过告知被试大学生, 转学的难度越来越大或越来越小, 来操纵系统(学校)不可脱离性, 而后让学生阅读批评学校制度的材料, 发现那些认为转学难度越来越大的学生会更加反对那些批评学校的意见(Laurin et al., 2010)。还有研究将背景换成了公司, 结果同样发现, 当公司对于员工的休假日期做出严格规定时, 员工反倒会更为支持公司的决定, 觉得自主选择休假日期不是那么重要(Laurin, Kay, Proudfoot, Fitzsimons, 2013)。

最后, 研究者还发现, 即使接触到批评系统现状的信息, 个体同样会无意识地展现出系统合理化的倾向。在研究中, 研究者首先让被试试图记忆一段演讲稿, 实验组被试需要记忆演讲稿内容是对于当前社会现状予以严厉批评, 而控制组则记忆的是一段地质学的科普文章。接下来, 被试被要求对于呈现在屏幕上的词语的积极和消极属性做尽可能快的判断, 而呈现词语的背景则被设置为传递系统合法性的图片(如美国国旗、自由女神像等), 结果发现, 那些被要求记忆批评系统文章的被试, 当他们看到积极词与传递系统合法性的图片相组合时, 其反应时最短(Liviatan & Jost, 2014)。这说明接受到批评系统的信息时, 这些被试被无意识地诱发了更为强烈的系统合理化倾向。

通过上述多个方面的研究, 系统合理化的认知失调视角认为:当个体感受到系统的某方面与自己的期待不相符时, 人们反而会更加强调系统的合法、正当以及强大, 以此来克服自己对于社会系统产生的焦虑, 从而表现出了系统合理化的倾向。可以看出, 这一类的合理化的诱因都源于系统本身的要素, 必须要以系统的某一方面不符合自身需求为前提。然而这些系统本身的因素毕竟都是外因, 研究者还希望再从个体内部因素的层面继续挖掘此问题。

3 基于补偿性控制的解释视角

3.1 理论观点

尽管认知失调的视角对于系统合理化的来源进行了全面地理论阐述, 也找到了丰富的研究证据, 但系统合理化理论的研究者并未满足于此。他们认为, 这种合理化的心理过程不只会受到系统性因素的激发, 还很可能会联系着个体的某些更为基础性的心理需求(Jost & Hunyady, 2005)。在这种论断的指引下, 不久之后研究者(Kay, Gaucher, Napier, Callan, & Laurin, 2008)提出了补偿性控制理论(compensatory control theory), 对系统合理化进行了完全另一视角的解读。在补偿性控制的视角当中, 系统合理化不是源自于个体与系统的矛盾, 而是由单纯个体性的因素所导致, 这种个体性因素就是控制感的缺乏。

补偿性控制理论认为, 获得对外部世界的掌控感是人类的基本心理需求。然而, 个体生活在复杂的社会之中, 这种控制外界的需求并不总是能够实现, 人常常无法控制很多事物, 这时控制感会出现短暂的下降, 人会因此感到外部世界由于不可控而变得不够确定、不可预测、缺乏秩序。此时, 为了补偿控制感的“缺口”, 个体会表现出强烈的结构需求(need for structure)倾向, 即无意识地增强对于秩序性、确定性的需求, 或者表现为对于有结构、有秩序、可预测的客体的偏爱, 或者将无序的客观事物知觉为有序的, 或者相信会有一个更强有力的主体能够为自己的生活提供秩序。因为只有这样, 人们才感到失去控制感相对可以接受——尽管自己不能掌控客观的事物运行, 但客观事物仍然是有规律可循的, 世界也就还是安全的(e.g., Kay et al., 2008; Landau, Kay, & Whitson, 2015)。

而系统合理化, 在补偿性控制理论的视角看来, 就是在控制感缺失时能够提供补偿的一种重要的策略, 或者说能够满足控制感较低的个体对于结构性、秩序性的需求(e.g., Kay & Eibach, 2013)。因为要补偿个体缺失的控制感, 其核心在于提供给个体一种强大而稳定的外部秩序, 让个体觉得生活的环境是可预测的, 通常而言由国家和政府主导的社会系统恰恰能够扮演这种角色。Kay, Shepherd, Blatz, Chua和Galinsky (2010)就指出并通过研究论证, 宗教信仰和社会政治系统是能够让人们感受到强大控制力量的两大源头, 通过这两个力量源, 个体可以找到一种替代性的控制力与秩序性。Greenaway等(2015)的研究则证实个人可以通过认同自己是一个强大的集体的一员来补偿控制感。可见, 补偿个人控制感的不足, 很可能是系统合理化得以在人们心中广泛存在和延续的又一重要原因。

3.2 实证研究

那么在实证研究中, 控制感的缺失真的可以引发系统合理化吗?Kay等(2008)的研究最早对此进行了考察。首先通过调查法, Kay等(2008)统计了67个国家的93122名被试数据, 结果发现, 个人控制感越低的被试, 就越倾向于依赖政府, 让政府在他们的生活中发挥重要作用, 体现出这些个体对于政府和社会系统的信任。即使在清廉程度较低的国家, 这一效应有所降低, 但仍达到了显著的水平。其后, Kay等(2008)进一步通过实验操纵, 通过让一组被试回忆一次体验较高控制感的经历, 另一组则回忆一次较低控制感的经历, 以操纵其形成暂时不同的控制感水平, 结果发现对于一个较为清明的社会系统而言, 低控制感的被试更加反对社会系统可能出现的变革, 更认为政府应该坚持现行的制度、保持国家的稳定, 表现出了对于系统现状更强的拥护和认可程度。

Kay等(2008)的结论发表之后, 更多研究随之跟进, 为控制感缺失引发系统合理化这一观点提供了更多的证据。例如研究者发现, 控制感较低时被试会更倾向于认为其所生活的社会系统是有明确的高低等级之分的, 而且他们也会更倾向于认为这种不平等的社会等级现状是合理的(Friesen, Kay, Eibach, & Galinsky, 2014)。还有研究者(Shepherd, Kay, Landau & Keefer, 2011)发现, 低控制感的人在选举时更倾向于把选票投给声称要为社会带来秩序和稳定性的候选人, 同样是表现出了反对社会变革的倾向, 带有典型的系统合理化的意味。除此之外, 低控制感引发系统合理化这一观点也有一些旁证, 例如van der Toorn等(2015)发现权力感的降低会诱发系统合理化倾向的出现, 而且研究者也在文章的讨论部分做出推测, 认为很可能权力感与系统合理化的关系正是源于权力感与控制感的相关。另外还有很多研究从不同角度, 提出缺乏控制感会使个体更为信奉社会系统中主流的价值观念, 如宗教(Kay et al., 2010)、科学观念(Rutjens, van Harreveld, & van der Pligt, 2013)、支持国货(柳武妹, 王海忠, 何浏, 2014)等等, 这些心理和行为表现也都与系统合理化有明显的关联。

随着研究的积累, 由低控制感而引发系统合理化的这一解释效应得到了广泛的支持。相对于认知失调视角, 补偿性控制视角更侧重于从个体自身因素出发来解释系统合理化的根源。但它与认知失调视角也有一点共性, 那就是都强调系统合理化是由需求所诱发的, 是具有动力性的, 只不过认知失调视角更强调个体对于系统的需求, 补偿性控制视角更强调个体自身的基础存在性需求。那么除了能够被需求所激发, 系统合理化还存在另外的源头吗?

4 基于社会认知因素的解释视角

4.1 理论观点

尽管在此之前已经有一些研究将系统合理化与个体的某些认知因素相关联, 不过从理论上具体地阐述社会认知因素引发系统合理化的作用, 是由Hussak和Cimpian (2015)正式提出的。在一定程度上, Hussak和Cimpian (2015)提出的理论观点回应了系统合理化理论最权威的两位学者Kay和Jost (2014)对于系统合理化理论的展望。在此之前Kay和Jost (2014)提出, 系统合理化是一个复杂的心理问题, 可能牵涉到多方面的心理机制。而一年之后, Hussak和Cimpian (2015)恰恰从社会认知方面的因素切入, 为系统合理化的源头做出了新的阐释。

社会认知的解释视角认为, 系统合理化尽管存在着其他的诱发机制, 不过从本源上讲, 它可能源自于认知方面的因素(Hussak & Cimpian, 2015)。他们强调了三种基础认知倾向:一是本质主义(essentialism)倾向, 即总是更多关注事物的内在本质特征, 而非外在附属特征; 二是内归因偏差, 即更倾向于将事物的发展变化与所得结果归结为其内部因素, 而非归因为外部因素; 三是启发式(heuristic)加工, 如人们在解释社会事件时, 常常根据头脑中最先闪现的信息做出判断, 而非反复思考以求最优答案(Cimpian & Salomon, 2014a, 2014b)。

Hussak和Cimpian (2015)认为, 个体在加工关于社会系统的信息时, 之所以会表现出系统合理化的倾向, 就是由于上述认知因素的作用。因为个体感知社会系统的合理性要取决于他们对于社会不平等的认知, 而这又必然要对于社会经济差异(socioeconomic disparity)的成因做出判断, 如富人和穷人、发达地区与贫困地区这些差别从何而来。而启发式加工的特点, 决定了个体倾向于根据最先闪现出来信息做出判断, 这些最先闪现的信息常常是基于本质主义的, 也就是说, 人们会自然而然地认为这些社会经济差异都不是偶然的、他们之所以表现出各自的结果是由其内部本质因素所致(比如之所以有贫富之别是因为富人和穷人自身特征不同, 而外部环境因素不是关键), 从而对其发展趋势和结果会有一种理所当然之感, 也就因此认为系统中的事物都是公正合理的(Hussak & Cimpian, 2015)。所以简言之, 社会认知视角对于系统合理化的解释, 其关键就是认为系统合理化源于人们对于社会经济差异做出的内归因解释, 而在本质主义和启发式加工这两种认知倾向的基础上, 人们自然而然地更倾向于对社会差异进行内归因, 由此塑造出了人们的系统合理化倾向。所以, 无论是该观点的提出者Hussak和Cimpian (2015)所做的研究, 还是支持该理论观点的其它研究, 其真正关注和考察的系统合理化的前因变量都是个体对于社会经济差异的归因。

4.2 实证研究

Hussak和Cimpian (2015)在提出了上述理论观点之后, 通过问卷法、实验法从多个角度为此提供了支持。例如他们告知被试Blarks远远比Orps富有(两个人物均为虚构, 以排除被试预先经验的干扰), 发现被试确实更倾向于对此差异做内归因解释(因为Blarks比Orp聪明、能干), 而且内归因强度正向预测系统合理化。为了增强研究的说服力, Hussak和Cimpian (2015)分别用5岁和8岁的儿童来验证上述结论, 效应同样显著, 这说明该理论所强调的这种内归因倾向在幼年时期就已成型。更为重要的是, Hussak和Cimpian (2015)的研究控制了焦虑这一情绪因素, 也就是说, 即使个体不存在认知失调与情绪焦虑, 而只是单纯地通过社会认知过程, 其系统合理化倾向就会显现。这充分展现了社会认知因素对于系统合理化的解释力, 也说明社会归因可能是独立于其他心理机制之外的、诱发系统合理化的又一路径。

其实, 在Hussak和Cimpian (2015)之前, 稍早的研究也表明, 每个人对经济结果的归因可以预测其对社会公平的评价(Iatridis & Fousiani, 2009; 王甫勤, 2011)。Ng和Allen (2005)的研究甚至综合了多个理论视角来探查个体感知公平的心理机制, 结果发现解释力最高的是贫富归因的视角:如果被试将个人的贫富归结于每个人自身的原因(如能力不同、努力程度不同), 那么就会有更强的公平感; 而如果归因于外部(如体制、偏见等问题), 则公平感就弱。根据系统合理化理论的概念阐述, 公平感是系统合理化的一个具体指标(e.g., Jost et al., 2014), 所以这一研究也可为认知视角的系统合理化解释提供有力支撑。而在Hussak和Cimpian (2015)的理论观点提出后, 有中国学者同样发现, 个体对于贫富差距的归因可以显著地预测其系统合理化水平(杨沈龙, 郭永玉, 胡小勇, 舒首立, 李静, 2016), 体现出该效应所具有的跨文化一致性。

另外, 近来一些研究还强调人们对于社会阶层流动性(social class mobility)的感知可以预测系统合理化, 而且这一效应的中介机制同样是个体对于贫穷和富裕的归因。研究发现, 美国人对于阶层流动有着过于乐观的预期(Kraus & Tan, 2015), 这也反映了其美国梦(American Dream)的理念——人人都可以通过个人努力向上流动、获得成功。那么这种对于阶层流动的乐观评估是否也会成为系统合理化产生的前因呢?一些研究对此观点予以了支持(e.g., Day & Fiske, 2017); 而更进一步的研究则发现, 阶层流动预期之所以可以预测系统合理化依然是基于归因的中介作用:个体的阶层流动预期越高就越倾向于将人与人的地位差异归因为努力程度的不同(内归因), 而内归因的倾向越强则人们对于社会不平等的认可也就越高(Shariff, Wiwad, & Aknin, 2016)。

通过上述研究可以看出, 虽然这一理论视角的提出者Hussak和Cimpian (2015)强调是社会认知与系统合理化的关系, 但无论是理论的落脚点还是研究的关注点, 其实更为关键和直接的因素在于归因, 是个体对于社会和每个人经济结果的内归因倾向, 直接引发了系统合理化。又由于西方人有着典型的内归因偏差(e.g., Cimpian & Salomon, 2014a, 2014b), 所以系统合理化才成为了一种普遍的大众心理倾向。当然, 也许除了社会归因, 还存在其它尚未被揭示的认知因素可能是系统合理化的来源, 但这就需要未来的研究作更深入的考察了。

5 小结与讨论

上文回顾和分析了三种视角对于系统合理化来源的阐释。认知失调视角认为系统合理化源于个体感到系统的某方面无法满足自身的需求, 因而通过系统合理化来缓解焦虑情绪(e.g., Jost, 2017a, 2017b)。接下来, 补偿性控制视角也强调系统合理化是由需求所触发, 但补偿性控制视角更加侧重于关注单纯个人因素的作用, 它认为由缺乏控制感所引发的结构需求倾向是引起系统合理化的关键(e.g., Ma & Kay, 2017; Kay et al., 2008)。而最晚提出的社会认知视角则并没有考虑需求与情绪因素, 它认为系统合理化之所以成为人们广泛持有的一种心理倾向, 是由个体的社会认知因素特别是个体对于社会经济差异的内归因倾向所导致(e.g., Hussak & Cimpian, 2015)。可以说, 三种视角都有充分的理论基础和研究依据, 很难说孰是孰非、孰优孰劣。那么在这三种视角并存的情况下, 未来该领域应该如何立足于现有基础, 开展更深更广的研究呢?

第一, 探讨系统合理化成因, 可以考虑在同一个研究中包含来自于不同理论视角的解释变量。自系统合理化理论提出以来, 考察系统合理化的成因与后效就一直是该领域的核心关切。对于系统合理化后效的研究, 无论是理论基础还是研究结论都有较高的一致性、系统性, 都指向对于不公的容忍(e.g., Jost, Becker, Osborne, & Badaan, 2017; Kay & Brandt, 2016)。但是关于成因, 显然解释视角要更为复杂, 而且基于不同视角所开展的研究相对独立(Hussak & Cimpian, 2015)。对此, 未来研究也许可以有所改变, 不妨考虑在同一个研究中包含来自于不同理论视角的解释变量, 这样的设计可能会发现更有价值的结果。例如社会认知视角的关键解释变量是社会归因, 补偿性控制视角的关键解释变量是结构需求, 那么在考察系统合理化的发生机制时, 可以通过构建双重中介模型, 综合考虑社会认知和补偿性控制两种视角的作用机制。已有研究者进行了这样的尝试, 杨沈龙(2017)在探讨低阶层群体形成系统合理化的过程时, 就将社会归因和结构需求都纳入分析, 结果发现低阶层者的结构需求倾向促进了其系统合理化的形成, 而低阶层者的社会归因倾向则与社会认知视角所强调的认知倾向恰恰相反因而遏制了其系统合理化的形成, 两种心理过程有相互抵消的趋势。可见, 在研究中综合考察两个或以上的解释视角, 可能会发现更多的信息, 实现“1+1>2”的效果。

第一, 探讨系统合理化成因, 可以考虑在同一个研究中包含来自于不同理论视角的解释变量。自系统合理化理论提出以来, 考察系统合理化的成因与后效就一直是该领域的核心关切。对于系统合理化后效的研究, 无论是理论基础还是研究结论都有较高的一致性、系统性, 都指向对于不公的容忍(e.g., Jost, Becker, Osborne, & Badaan, 2017; Kay & Brandt, 2016)。但是关于成因, 显然解释视角要更为复杂, 而且基于不同视角所开展的研究相对独立(Hussak & Cimpian, 2015)。对此, 未来研究也许可以有所改变, 不妨考虑在同一个研究中包含来自于不同理论视角的解释变量, 这样的设计可能会发现更有价值的结果。例如社会认知视角的关键解释变量是社会归因, 补偿性控制视角的关键解释变量是结构需求, 那么在考察系统合理化的发生机制时, 可以通过构建双重中介模型, 综合考虑社会认知和补偿性控制两种视角的作用机制。已有研究者进行了这样的尝试, 杨沈龙(2017)在探讨低阶层群体形成系统合理化的过程时, 就将社会归因和结构需求都纳入分析, 结果发现低阶层者的结构需求倾向促进了其系统合理化的形成, 而低阶层者的社会归因倾向则与社会认知视角所强调的认知倾向恰恰相反因而遏制了其系统合理化的形成, 两种心理过程有相互抵消的趋势。可见, 在研究中综合考察两个或以上的解释视角, 可能会发现更多的信息, 实现“1+1>2”的效果。

第二, 未来研究可以从系统合理化的相近研究领域切入, 借鉴这些领域已有的发现, 探索其他可能存在的系统合理化的形成机制。其实, 这一思路在过往的系统合理化研究中也有运用, 像前文所述的基于社会认知因素的解释视角, 它的提出者最初所关注的并非系统合理化领域, 而只是单纯地想要揭示一种人们普遍存在的社会认知倾向(e.g., Cimpian & Salomon, 2014a, 2014b)。但随着研究的深入, 研究者发现这一认知倾向同样可以用来解释人们对社会系统的感知, 而通过将系统合理化与这一认知视角的解释相结合, 他们得以提出新的对于系统合理化来源的阐释(Hussak & Cimpian, 2015)。再如有研究者跳出了系统合理化理论的框架, 而尝试从社会认同的角度来解释系统合理化的形成, 他们提出系统合理化也许是弱势群体的一种认同管理策略, 弱势群体相信系统合理是为了给自己一个将来向上流动的希望(e.g., Owuamalam, Rubin, & Issmer, 2016; Owuamalam, Rubin, Spears, & Weerabangsa, 2017)。这些做法值得未来研究者借鉴。另外, 前文已有述及, 像社会支配倾向、公正世界信念等概念均与系统合理化有高度的相关, 因此在一定程度上可以考虑基于这些领域的现有研究成果, 提出系统合理化领域新的研究问题与研究假设。

第三, 应更多考虑立足于中国文化, 探讨中国化的系统合理化问题。系统合理化理论起源于美国, 而且从现有研究来看, 绝大多数结论也是基于美国被试, 目前较少有国内学者运用跨文化、本土化的视角深入考察中国人的系统合理化倾向。从经验上来看, 中国国民性中有一些系统合理化的体现, 如鲁迅就曾深刻地批判过国人“暂时坐稳了奴隶”的状态(《坟·灯下漫笔》), 美籍中国问题研究专家怀默霆(2009)也指出, 中国人对于不平等总体是接受的, 而且农村比城市对于不平等更为乐观和宽容。这些观点提示我们, 中国可能同样存在系统合理化的土壤, 但这不等于说中国的系统合理化研究就能直接套用西方现有的结论。就以系统合理化的来源为例, 社会认知视角强调系统合理化源自于个体对于社会经济差异做出的内归因解释, 确实西方人存在着内部归因的偏差(Gawronski, 2004)。然而东方人则恰恰相反, 研究发现东方人的归因风格恰恰是有明显的外归因风格(e.g., Morris & Peng, 1994)。那么在这种情况下, 很难说是归因促成了中国人的系统合理化。那么, 中国人和西方人的系统合理化还有何异同, 是否存在中国人特有的系统合理化来源, 这都值得未来研究深入挖掘。

第四, 应从积极和消极两个方面理解系统合理化。长期以来, 学者们虽然也发现系统合理化对个体心理健康具体积极意义(e.g., McCoy, Wellman, Cosley, Saslow, & Epel, 2013), 但更加强调的还是其消极方面作用(e.g., van der Toorn & Jost, 2014)。因为如果民众一味地认可系统的合理性, 可能会固化社会顽疾, 阻碍社会改革与发展(e.g., Baryla, Wojciszke, & Cichocka, 2015)。然而, 从最近的研究来看, 即使在社会层面, 系统合理化也有积极的一面。例如有研究表明, 系统合理化会使得个体降低从事腐败行为的意愿(Tan, Liu, Huang, Zheng, & Liang, 2016)。Cichocka和Jost (2014)的研究则从另一侧面入手, 他们发现一些东欧国家民众的系统合理化水平整体较低, 这也产生了很多社会问题。还有研究发现, 系统合理化的消极方面也并非不可避免, 当个体效能感较高时其消极作用就会有所缓解(e.g., Beierlein, Werner, Preiser, & Wermuth, 2011)。所以, 至少在某些情况下, 系统合理化也会对个体、对社会起到一些积极作用。更为重要的是, 前文已经阐明了系统合理化有多重来源:它既可以源于无意识的防御策略, 也可以源于相对理性的认知加工。所以判断系统合理化的利弊, 也许要区分它从何而来, 如果一个系统确实存在较多的合理性因素, 研究者也无需一定要将民众的系统合理化倾向看作是负面的。最近有学者开始更多强调系统合理化的积极方面(e.g., Beierlein, 2014), 一些研究也开始用更中性的表述如系统支持(system support, Hussak & Cimpian, 2015)、系统合理信念(system-justifying belief, Shepherd, Eibach, & Kay, 2017)这样的名词来代替系统合理化。因此, 也许未来研究可以基于系统合理化的来源与后效, 对积极的和消极的合理化做出进一步的区分。

第五, 应立足于现实, 更多开展系统合理化的应用研究。系统合理化研究之所以长期倍受关注, 一个重要原因就是它确实对于很多现实问题具有很好的解释和预测力, 小到环保意愿(e.g., Jylhä & Akrami, 2015), 大到总统选举(e.g., Jost, 2017a)都是如此。我们也有理由相信, 对于中国社会问题, 系统合理化理论也可以提供很多有价值的观察角度。当然, 应用研究常常涉及价值判断, 对此, 未来研究也许可以从上文中所分析的积极作用的和消极作用两个角度切入, 更全面地看待系统合理化。并且现有研究已经从多方面剖析了系统合理化的来源, 那么完全可以依据现实需求, 干预系统合理化的水平。对于那些消极的系统合理化, 可以考虑如何遏制其源头, 例如前文所讲的在一个组织中越没有权力的人反倒越拥护组织中的权威者(van der Toorn et al., 2015), 这种情况可考虑增强无权者的权力, 来减弱他们这种消极的系统合理化倾向。而对于那些积极的系统合理化, 可以考虑如何促进其发生, 例如前文所述及的东欧国家民众整体的系统合理化水平较低并且引发了一系列问题(Cichocka & Jost, 2014), 这种情况应考虑如何改革其社会体制弊端, 以增强民众的系统合理化观念。总之, 未来研究应在进一步明确系统合理化的来源以及细致划分系统合理化的利与弊的基础上, 增强开展应用研究, 以更好地回答现实中存在的社会公正问题。

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
作者已声明无竞争性利益关系。

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The distribution of success and failure to social groups is supported by lay theories about the characteristics of social groups and the causes of their outcomes, as well as by beliefs about entitlement of groups to succeed or fail. This paper presents a study where a target individual’s socio-economic status (high vs. low) and outcome in a major academic achievement task (success vs. failure) were manipulated in a 202×022 experimental design. It was found that high-status success and low-status failure, i.e. the system-consistent outcomes, were attributed relatively more to stable internal causes (ability), whereas high-status failure and low-status success, i.e. the system-inconsistent outcomes, were attributed relatively more to unstable causes (effort). Second, participants’ belief in a just world was higher in high-status success and low-status failure than in high-status failure and low-status success.

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     [本文引用: 1]

This research demonstrates that conspiracy theories – often represented as subversive alternatives to establishment narratives – may bolster, rather than undermine, support for the social status quo when its legitimacy is under threat. A pilot study (N = 98) found a positive relationship between conspiracy belief and satisfaction with the status quo. In Study 1 (N = 120), threatening (vs. affirming) the status quo in British society caused participants to endorse conspiracy theories. In Study 2 (N = 159), exposure to conspiracy theories increased satisfaction with the British social system after this had been experimentally threatened. In Study 3 (N = 109), this effect was mediated by the tendency for participants exposed (vs. not exposed) to conspiracy theories to attribute societal problems relatively more strongly to small groups of people rather than systemic causes. By blaming tragedies, disasters and social problems on the actions of a malign few, conspiracy theories can divert attention from the inherent limitations of social systems.

Jost, J.T. ( 2015).

Resistance to change: A social psychological perspective

Social Research: An International Quarterly, 82( 3), 607-636.

URL     [本文引用: 1]

Resistance to change has been a central topic in social psychology since the inception of the field. It has been addressed by theorists as diverse as Thorstein Veblen, William McDougall, Kurt Lewin, Leon Festinger, and William J. McGuire, among others. Decades of research show that people are resistant to changing beliefs that are logically or psychologically connected to systems of beliefs and values that are important to them (i.e., ideologies). In this article, I describe some of the studies that I and others have conducted on the role of political ideology and system justification motivation in fostering skepticism and resistance to scientific information about climate change.

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     [本文引用: 3]

Jost, J.T. ( 2017 b).

Working class conservatism: A system justification perspective

Current Opinion in Psychology, 18, 73-78.

URL     [本文引用: 1]

Working class conservatism is a perennial issue in social science, but researchers have struggled to provide an adequate characterization. In social psychology, the question has too often been framed in “either/or” terms of whether the disadvantaged are more or less likely to support the status quo than the advantaged. This is a crude rendering of the issue obscuring the fact that even if most working class voters are not conservative, millions are—and conservatives could not win elections without their support. System justification theory highlights epistemic, existential, and relational needs to reduce uncertainty, threat, and discord that are shared by everyone—and that promote conservative attitudes. I summarize qualitative and quantitative evidence of system justification among the disadvantaged and consider prospects for more constructive political activity.

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.

[本文引用: 2]

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     [本文引用: 1]

Most theories in social and political psychology stress self-interest, intergroup conflict, ethnocentrism, homophily, ingroup bias, outgroup antipathy, dominance, and resistance. System justification theory is influenced by these perspectives—including social identity and social dominance theories—but it departs from them in several respects. Advocates of system justification theory argue that (a) there is a general ideological motive to justify the existing social order, (b) this motive is at least partially responsible for the internalization of inferiority among members of disadvantaged groups, (c) it is observed most readily at an implicit, nonconscious level of awareness and (d) paradoxically, it is sometimes strongest among those who are most harmed by the status quo. This article reviews and integrates 10 years of research on 20 hypotheses derived from a system justification perspective, focusing on the phenomenon of implicit outgroup favoritism among members of disadvantaged groups (including African Americans, the elderly, and gays/lesbians) and its relation to political ideology (especially liberalism-conservatism).

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.

[本文引用: 6]

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.

[本文引用: 1]

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.

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This article has no associated abstract. ( fix it )

Jost, J.T., &Hunyady, O . ( 2005).

Antecedents and consequences of system-justifying ideologies

Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14( 5), 260-265.

URL     [本文引用: 3]

Abstract090000 According to system justification theory, there is a psychological motive to defend and justify the status quo. There are both dispositional antecedents (e.g., need for closure, openness to experience) and situational antecedents (e.g., system threat, mortality salience) of the tendency to embrace system-justifying ideologies. Consequences of system justification sometimes differ for members of advantaged versus disadvantaged groups, with the former experiencing increased and the latter decreased self-esteem, well-being, and in-group favoritism. In accordance with the palliative function of system justification, endorsement of such ideologies is associated with reduced negative affect for everyone, as well as weakened support for social change and redistribution of resources.

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     [本文引用: 1]

61Climate change denial reflects dominance, (low) empathy, and system justification.61Social dominance and nature dominance explain unique parts of the variance in denial.61Social and nature dominance mediate the relation of system justification with denial.61Social dominance mediates the relation between domineering and denial.61Social and nature dominance mediate the relation between empathy and denial.

Kay, A.C., &Brandt, M.J . ( 2016).

Ideology and intergroup inequality: Emerging directions and trends

Current Opinion in Psychology, ( 11), 110-114.

URL     [本文引用: 1]

The authors propose that two guiding frameworks characterize psychological research on the relation between ideology and inequality. The first, called theproduct approach, focuses on ideologies directly concerned with intergroup relations, in which beliefs about inequality can be considered adirect productof the relevant belief system. These ideologies focus on topics that are clearly and explicitly connected to inequality, such as hierarchy, dominance, the supremacy of the ingroup, or beliefs about the optimal social and/or economic order. The second approach focuses on the ways in which perceptions of inequality can be abyproductof ideologies or worldviews that are not directly concerned with inequality, but can impact intergroup relations nonetheless. These ideologies tend to involve more abstract, epistemic content that can be applied broadly, but often manifest in beliefs that are relevant to intergroup relations and inequality. Examples are used to illustrate this distinction, and emerging areas are discussed.

Kay, A.C., &Eibach, R.P . ( 2013).

Compensatory control and its implications for ideological extremism

Journal of Social Issues, 69( 3), 564-585.

URL     [本文引用: 7]

This article outlines and reviews evidence for a model of compensatory control designed to account for the motivated belief in personal and external sources of control. In doing so, we attempt to shed light on the content and strength of ideologies, including extreme libertarian, nationalist, socialist, and religious fundamentalist ideologies. We suggest that although these ideologies differ in their content they commonly function to provide people with a sense of control over otherwise random events. We propose that extreme ideologies of personal control (e.g., libertarianism) and external control (e.g., socialism, religious fundamentalism) are equifinal means of meeting a universal need to believe that things, in general, are under control hat is, that events do not unfold randomly or haphazardly. We use this model to explain how the adoption and strength of ideologies of personal and external control may vary across temporal and sociocultural contexts.

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     [本文引用: 1]

More than a decade of research from the perspective of system-justification theory (Jost & Banaji, 1994) has demonstrated that people engage in motivated psychological processes that bolster and support the status quo. We propose that this motive is highly contextual: People do not justify their social systems at all times but are more likely to do so under certain circumstances. We describe four contexts in which people are prone to engage in system-justifying processes: (a) system threat, (b) system dependence, (c) system inescapability, and (d) low personal control. We describe how and why, in these contexts, people who wish to promote social change might expect resistance. Association for Psychological Science 2011.

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.

URL     PMID:18605849      [本文引用: 3]

Abstract The authors propose that the high levels of support often observed for governmental and religious systems can be explained, in part, as a means of coping with the threat posed by chronically or situationally fluctuating levels of perceived personal control. Three experiments demonstrated a causal relation between lowered perceptions of personal control and the defense of external systems, including increased beliefs in the existence of a controlling God (Studies 1 and 2) and defense of the overarching socio-political system (Study 4). A 4th experiment (Study 5) showed the converse to be true: A challenge to the usefulness of external systems of control led to increased illusory perceptions of personal control. In addition, a cross-national data set demonstrated that lower levels of personal control are associated with higher support for governmental control (across 67 nations; Study 3). Each study identified theoretically consistent moderators and mediators of these effects. The implications of these results for understanding why a high percentage of the population believes in the existence of God, and why people so often endorse and justify their socio-political systems, are discussed.

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.

URL     PMID:19685999      [本文引用: 3]

How powerful is the status quo in determining people's social ideals? The authors propose (a) that people engage in injunctification, that is, a motivated tendency to construe the current status quo as the most desirable and reasonable state of affairs (i.e., as the most representative of how things should be); (b) that this tendency is driven, at least in part, by people's desire to justify their sociopolitical systems; and (c) that injunctification has profound implications for the maintenance of inequality and societal change. Four studies, across a variety of domains, provided supportive evidence. When the motivation to justify the sociopolitical system was experimentally heightened, participants injunctified extant (a) political power (Study 1), (b) public funding policies (Study 2), and (c) unequal gender demographics in the political and business spheres (Studies 3 and 4, respectively). It was also demonstrated that this motivated phenomenon increased derogation of those who act counter to the status quo (Study 4). Theoretical implications for system justification theory, stereotype formation, affirmative action, and the maintenance of inequality are discussed.

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.

URL     PMID:24775133      [本文引用: 3]

Recognizing that there is a multiplicity of motives02-02and that the accessibility and strength of each one varies chronically and temporarily02-02is essential if motivational scientists are to achieve genuine theoretical and empirical integration. We agree that system justification is a case of nonconscious goal pursuit and discuss implications of the fact that it conflicts with many other psychological goals.

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.

URL     PMID:20954784      [本文引用: 1]

Abstract It has been recently proposed that people can flexibly rely on sources of control that are both internal and external to the self to satisfy the need to believe that their world is under control (i.e., that events do not unfold randomly or haphazardly). Consistent with this, past research demonstrates that, when personal control is threatened, people defend external systems of control, such as God and government. This theoretical perspective also suggests that belief in God and support for governmental systems, although seemingly disparate, will exhibit a hydraulic relationship with one another. Using both experimental and longitudinal designs in Eastern and Western cultures, the authors demonstrate that experimental manipulations or naturally occurring events (e.g., electoral instability) that lower faith in one of these external systems (e.g., the government) lead to subsequent increases in faith in the other (e.g., God). In addition, mediation and moderation analyses suggest that specific concerns with order and structure underlie these hydraulic effects. Implications for the psychological, sociocultural, and sociopolitical underpinnings of religious faith, as well as system justification theory, are discussed.

Kraus, M.W., &Tan, J. J.X . ( 2015).

Americans overestimate social class mobility

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 58, 101-111.

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61Americans overestimate the levels of actual class mobility in society.61Mobility overestimates are larger for younger and higher subjective class people.61Information and motivation contribute to mobility beliefs.

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.

URL     PMID:25688696      [本文引用: 2]

People are motivated to perceive themselves as having control over their lives. Consequently, they respond to events and that reduce control with compensatory strategies for restoring perceived control to baseline levels. Prior theory and research have documented 3 such strategies: bolstering personal agency, affiliating with external systems perceived to be acting on the self's behalf, and affirming clear contingencies between actions and outcomes within the context of reduced control (here termed specific structure). We propose a 4th strategy: affirming nonspecific structure, or seeking out and preferring simple, clear, and consistent interpretations of the social and physical environments. Formulating this claim suggests that people will respond to reduced control by affirming structured interpretations that are unrelated to the control-reducing condition, and even those that entail otherwise adverse outcomes (e.g., pessimistic health prospects). Section 1 lays the conceptual foundation for our review, situating the proposed phenomenon in the literatures on control motivation and threat-compensation mechanisms. Section 2 reviews studies that have demonstrated that trait and state variations in perceived control predict a wide range of epistemic structuring tendencies, including pattern recognition and causal reasoning. We posit that these tendencies reflect a common desire for a structured understanding of one's environment. Accordingly, a new meta-analysis spanning the reviewed studies (k = 55) revealed that control reduction predicts nonspecific structure affirmation with a moderate effect size (r =.25). Section 3 reviews research on individual differences and situational moderators of this effect. The discussion addresses the interplay of compensatory control strategies and practical implications. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved).

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     [本文引用: 1]

Here we propose a dual process model to reconcile two contradictory predictions about how people respond to restrictive policies imposed upon them by organizations and systems within which they operate. When participants attention was not drawn to the restrictive nature of the policy, or when it was, but their cognitive resources were restricted, we found evidence supporting a prediction based on System Justification Theory: Participants reacted favorably to restrictive policies, endorsing them and downplaying the importance of the restricted freedom. Only when we cued participants to focus their undivided attention on the restrictive nature of the policy did we find evidence supporting a prediction based on psychological reactance: Only then did participants display reactance and respond negatively to the policies.

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.

URL     PMID:20585053      [本文引用: 1]

The freedom to emigrate at will from a geographic location is an internationally recognized human right. However, this right is systematically violated by restrictive migration policies. In three experiments, we explored the psychological consequences of violating the right to mobility. Our results suggest that, ironically, restricted freedom of movement can lead to increased system justification (i.e., increased support of the status quo). In Study I, we found that participants who read that their country was difficult to leave became stronger defenders of their system's legitimacy than before, even in domains unrelated to emigration policy (e.g., gender relations). In Study 2, we demonstrated that this increased system defense was the result of a motivated process. In Study 3, we broadened the scope of this psychological phenomenon by conceptually replicating it using a different system (participants' university) and measure of system defense. The importance of these two findings—the first experimental demonstration of the psychological consequences of restrictive emigration policies and the introduction of a novel psychological phenomenon—is discussed.

Liviatan, I., &Jost, J.T . ( 2014).

A social-cognitive analysis of system justification goal striving

Social Cognition, 32( 2), 95-129.

URL     [本文引用: 1]

This research investigated the motivational underpinnings of system justification tendencies. Drawing on social-cognitive approaches to motivation, four experiments tested whether information processing instigated by exposure to system criticism exhibits properties consistent with goal-directed mechanisms. Experiments 1a and 1b demonstrated heightened accessibility of legitimacy-related concepts following exposure to system criticism (vs. control conditions). Experiment 2 revealed that the heightened accessibility of legitimacy-related concepts persisted only insofar as the strength of system justification motivation was high; once system justification motivation was fulfilled through an act of system affirmation, the accessibility of legitimacy-related concepts decreased. In Experiment 3, symbols of the system's legitimacy were automatically evaluated more favorably following system criticism (vs. control). Taken together, these studies reveal that system justification operates as a goal-directed mechanism with effects on basic cognitive processes. Implications for how and when people will strive to support the societal status quo are discussed.

Ma, A., &Kay, A.C . ( 2017).

Compensatory control and ambiguity intolerance

Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 140, 46-61.

URL     [本文引用: 1]

When do people find ambiguity intolerable, and how might this manifest in the workplace where roles, guidelines and expectations can be made to be more or less ambiguous? Compensatory Control Theory (CCT; Kay, Gaucher, Napier, Callan, & Laurin, 2008) suggests a potential driver: perceived control. Recent CCT theory (Landau, Kay, & Whitson, 2015) has posited that people with chronically lower levels of perceived control may be especially likely to seek coherent and structured environments. Given that ambiguous workplace situations such as flexible roles and titles, or loose guidelines and expectations necessarily represent a lack of structure, these types of situations may therefore be especially aversive to those lower in perceived control. Four studies support this prediction. Specifically, we observe that low perceived control (both measured or manipulated) predicts greater ambiguity intolerance as well as greater negative attitudes towards ambiguous situations (Studies 1, 2 and 3), but not other types of problematic workplace situations (Study 1), and that this process can exert important downstream consequences, ranging from behavioral intentions to perceived self-efficacy (Study 4).

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.

URL     PMID:3769703      [本文引用: 1]

Consensually held ideologies may serve as the cultural “glue” that justifies hierarchical status differences in society . Yet to be effective, these beliefs need to be embraced by low status groups. Why would members of low status groups endorse beliefs that justify their relative disadvantage? We propose that members of low status groups in the USA may benefit from some system-justifying beliefs (such as the belief in meritocracy) to the extent that these beliefs emphasize the perception of control over future outcomes. In two studies, among women, lower socioeconomic status women, and women of color, we found a positive relationship between the belief in meritocracy and well-being (self-esteem and physical health) that was mediated by perceived control. Members of low status groups may benefit from some system-justifying beliefs to the extent that these beliefs, such as the belief in meritocracy, emphasize the perception of control over future outcomes. Copyright 08 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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.

[本文引用: 1]

Napier, J.L., &Jost, J.T . ( 2008).

Why are conservatives happier than liberals?

Psychological Science, 19( 6), 565-572.

URL     PMID:18578846      [本文引用: 1]

ABSTRACT090000 In this research, we drew on system-justification theory and the notion that conservative ideology serves a palliative function to explain why conservatives are happier than liberals. Specifically, in three studies using nationally representative data from the United States and nine additional countries, we found that right-wing (vs. left-wing) orientation is indeed associated with greater subjective well-being and that the relation between political orientation and subjective well-being is mediated by the rationalization of inequality. In our third study, we found that increasing economic inequality (as measured by the Gini index) from 1974 to 2004 has exacerbated the happiness gap between liberals and conservatives, apparently because conservatives (more than liberals) possess an ideological buffer against the negative hedonic effects of economic inequality.

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     [本文引用: 1]

This study assessed the power of four theories in predicting individuals' perception of economic distributive justice: Self-interest Theory, Belief in a Just World, Attribution Theory, and Ideology. On the basis of a community survey of 487 adults, regression analyses showed that Self-interest Theory and Belief in a Just World provided moderate predictions of economic distributive justice perception; and Attribution Theory and Ideology yielded the strongest predictions. This finding has implications for future theoretical development.

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.

URL     PMID:23719621      [本文引用: 1]

Individual-based and group-based forms of relative deprivation (IRD and , respectively) are linked with individual- and group-based responses to inequality, respectively. System justification theory, however, argues that we are motivated to believe that people's outcomes are equitably determined. As such, endorsement of system-justifying beliefs should dampen people's reactions to outcomes perceived to be unequal and ultimately undermine support for political mobilization. We examined these hypotheses in a national probability sample of New Zealanders (N = 6,886). As expected, IRD predicted individual-based responses to inequality (i.e., satisfaction with one's standard of living and psychological distress) better than . Conversely, predicted group-based responses to inequality (i.e., perceived discrimination against one's group and support for political mobilization) better than IRD. Each of these relationships was, however, notably weaker among participants who were high, relative to low, on system justification. These results demonstrate that system-justifying beliefs have a palliative effect on people's experiences with inequality.

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     [本文引用: 1]

ABSTRACT System justification theory (SJT) proposes that support for social inequality should be stronger among members of devalued groups than among members of higher status groups; that embracing the system in this way soothes anger and leads to a withdrawal of support for social change; and that these effects should occur when group interest is weak. We compared these SJT predictions with identity management and hope for group advancement accounts that we deduced from social identity theory (SIT) and that suggest that both system justification and support for social change will be significant when group interest is strong. Consistent with the SIT-based accounts, Study 1 (N = 116, Malaysia, Mage =19.09 years) showed that strong identifiers were more concerned about their ingroup's reputation than weak identifiers, and that this concern increased system justification but only before an outgroup audience to whom a need to present one's group in good light is normally strong. Study 2 (N = 375, Australia, Mage = 23.59 years) conceptually replicated Study 1's results and further revealed that strong identifiers justified the system due to the hope that their ingroup status would improve in the future. Finally, Study 3 (N = 132, Germany, Mage = 20.34 years) revealed that system justification soothed anger and reduced support for social protest but only when group interest was strong (not weak). We did not find evidence in support of SJT predictions.

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     [本文引用: 1]

Abstract The recent global recession revealed a huge social-class divide between the economic outcomes of the affluent and their less endowed counterparts. Although this divide has bred social unrest in some societies, in many others such disturbances have been absent. Two mainstream theories of intergroup relations offer competing propositions for this paradox. System justification theory (SJT) proposes that people from lower status groups are most likely to support class systems that disadvantage them when their group interests are weak. In contrast, we put forward an explanation based on social identity theory (SIT) that proposes that class-system justification is an identity-management strategy that should be most apparent amongst individuals from lower-status groups when group interests are strong. Results from three experiments (combined N = 626), conducted in Malaysia and Australia, which varied subjective social class, provided stronger support for the SIT-based explanation that lower-status individuals endorse societal class systems more strongly when group interests are strong (Studies 1 a-b) and when the class system is perceived to be unstable in the long-term (Study 2).

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.

URL     PMID:22516239      [本文引用: 1]

It has been repeatedly shown that, when people have experiences that are inconsistent with their expectations, they engage in a variety of compensatory efforts. Although there have been many superficially different accounts for these behaviors, a potentially unifying inconsistency compensation perspective is currently coalescing. Following from a common prediction error/conflict monitoring mechanism, any given inconsistency is understood as evoking a common syndrome of aversive arousal. In turn, this aversive arousal is understood to motivate palliative efforts, which manifest as the analogous compensation behaviors reported within different psychological literatures. Based on this perspective, compensation efforts following both ‘high-level’ (e.g., attitudinal dissonance) and ‘low-level’ (e.g., Stroop task color/word mismatches) inconsistencies can now be understood in terms of a common motivational account.

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.

[本文引用: 1]

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.

URL     PMID:27217250      [本文引用: 1]

American politicians often justify income inequality by referencing the opportunities people have to move between economic stations. Though past research has shown associations between income mobility and resistance to wealth redistribution policies, no experimental work has tested whether perceptions of mobility influence tolerance for inequality. In this article, we present a cross-national comparison showing that income mobility is associated with tolerance for inequality and experimental work demonstrating that perceptions of higher mobility directly affect attitudes toward inequality. We find support for both the prospect of upward mobility and the view that peoples economic station is the product of their own efforts, as mediating mechanisms.

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     [本文引用: 1]

Do references to God in political discourse increase confidence in the U.S. sociopolitical system? Using a system justification framework (Jost & Banaji, 1994 ), five studies provide evidence that, (1) increasingly governments symbolically associate the nation with God when public confidence in the social system may be threatened and (2) associating the nation with God serves a system-justifying function by increasing public confidence in the system. In an analysis of U.S. presidential speeches, presidents were more likely to symbolically associate the nation with God during threatening times (Study 1). Among religious individuals, referencing God in political rhetoric increased the perceived trustworthiness of politicians, compared to patriotic secular rhetoric (Study 2) or simply priming the concept of God (Study 3). These effects were also unique to politicians from one's own sociopolitical system (Study 4). Finally, believing God has a plan for the United States attenuates the deleterious effect that perceptions of national decline have on system confidence (Study 5). Implications for the system-justifying function of religion are discussed.

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     [本文引用: 1]

Research inspired by the compensatory control model (CCM) shows that people compensate for personal control threats by bolstering aspects of the cultural worldview that afford external control. According to the CCM these effects stem from the motivation to maintain perceived order, but it is alternatively possible that they represent indirect efforts to bolster distally related psychological structures described by uncertainty management theory (self-relevant certainty) and terror management theory (death-transcendence). To assess whether compensatory control processes play a unique role in worldview defense, we hypothesized that personal control threats would increase affirmation of cultural constructs that specifically bolster order more so than constructs that bolster distally related structures. The results of 5 studies provide converging support for this hypothesis in the context of attitudes toward diverse cultural constructs (Study 1: national culture; Studies 2 and 3: consumer products; Studies 4a and 4b: political candidates). Also supporting hypotheses, uncertainty salience and mortality salience elicited greater affirmation of identity- and immortality-conferring targets, respectively, compared to order-conferring constructs. Discussion focuses on the value of different perspectives on existential motivation for predicting specific forms of worldview defense.

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     [本文引用: 1]

This reprinted chapter originally appeared in (Psychology of Intergroup Relations [ed. by S. Worchel; W. G. Austin], 1986, 7-24.) The aim of this chapter is to present an outline of a theory of intergroup conflict and some preliminary data relating to the theory. It begins with a discussion of alternative approaches to intergroup conflict with special attention to the "realistic group conflict theory" (RCT). RCT's relative neglect of the processes underlying the development and maintenance of group identity and the possibly autonomous effects upon the in-group and intergroup behavior is responsible for some inconsistencies between the empirical data and the theory in its "classical" form. In this sense, the theoretical orientation to be outlined in this chapter is intended not to replace RCT, but to supplement it in some respects that seem essential for an adequate social psychology of intergroup conflict--particularly as the understanding of the psychological aspects of social change cannot be achieved without an appropriate analysis of the social psychology of social conflict. The authors argue that people derive a sense of self-worth and social belongingness from their memberships in groups, and so they are motivated to draw favorable comparisons between their own group and other groups. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2015 APA, all rights reserved)

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.

URL     PMID:4960914      [本文引用: 3]

Previous research stresses that system justifying belief can weaken corruption perception, by this possibly fostering unjust behaviors. However, general results of the effect of general system justification on corruption are ambiguous, indicating also a lessening impact. We conducted a line of studies trying to elucidate these circumstances by testing the effect of general system justification on corruption perception and intention. In addition, we explored institutional trust as a possible mediator in this process. For this purpose, we conducted three studies. The first two studies examined the association between general system justification and corruption. In Study 1, a correlational design was run using questionnaires to assess the relation between general system justification and corruption perception as well as corruption intention. In Study 2, an experimental design was conducted manipulating general system justification via exposure to high or low system threat condition, then measuring its effect on corruption perception and corrupt intention. In Study 3, two sub-studies using correlational and experimental designs were run to explore the mediating role of institutional trust, respectively. Results replicated former studies showing that general system justification is negatively associated with corruption perception. However, they also showed a negative correlation with corrupt intention. Furthermore, they showed that institutional trust mediated the relation between general system justification and corruption. We suggest to consider these findings to further elucidate the psychological basis underlying different effects of general system justification on human behaviors.

Ullrich, J., &Cohrs, J.C . ( 2007).

Terrorism salience increases system justification: Experimental evidence

Social Justice Research, 20( 2), 117-139.

URL     [本文引用: 4]

The issue of international terrorism has figured frequently in recent political debates and media coverage. In the present paper, we explore the question of how the salience of the concept of international terrorism affects the system-justifying tendencies of public opinion. On the basis of Terror Management Theory and System Justification Theory it was hypothesized that terrorism salience would lead to increased system justification. Four experiments with student and non-student adult samples support the hypothesis, yielding a medium-sized average effect of d = 0.47. Across variations in the intensity of focal death-related thoughts, the effect was not subject to boundary conditions typical of mortality salience effects. Social and political psychological implications are discussed.

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     [本文引用: 2]

Abstract In an attempt to explain the stability of hierarchy, we focus on the perspective of the powerless and how a subjective sense of dependence leads them to imbue the system and its authorities with legitimacy. In Study 1, we found in a nationally representative sample of U.S. employees that financial dependence on one's job was positively associated with the perceived legitimacy of one's supervisor. In Study 2, we observed that a general sense of powerlessness was positively correlated with the perceived legitimacy of the economic system. In Studies 3 and 4, priming experimental participants with feelings of powerlessness increased their justification of the social system, even when they were presented with system-challenging explanations for race, class, and gender disparities. In Study 5, we demonstrated that the experience of powerlessness increased legitimation of governmental authorities (relative to baseline conditions). The processes we identify are likely to perpetuate inequality insofar as the powerless justify rather than strive to change the hierarchical structures that disadvantage them.

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.

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.

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61In the absence of system justification activation, conservatives exhibit stronger national attachment than liberals.61Activating system justification motivation eliminated the ideological gap by strengthening national attachment among liberals.61This effect was specific to patriotism (vs. nationalism) attachment.61Converging evidence is provided using diverse samples, contexts, and methodological operations.

Willer, R. ( 2004).

The effects of government-issued terror warnings on presidential approval ratings

Current Research in Social Psychology, 10( 1), 1-12.

[本文引用: 1]

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