Despite evidence to the contrary, people have a need to represent the world as a just and fair place where prosocial behaviour is rewarded and negative acts are punished. This cognitive bias is termed the Belief in a Just World (BJW). Previous research assumes the BJW to be symmetrical, i.e., one believes to the same extent that a negative action will be punished and that negative events in one's life are punishments for previous negative actions. Similarly, good deeds are expected to be rewarded and positive events are interpreted as rewards for previous positive actions. The present work tests this symmetry assumption. We show multiple asymmetries in the way people endorse positive and negative BJW statements for the past and the future that concern the self or other people. The results are discussed in terms of the interaction of BJW with other cognitive biases.
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- Belief in a Just World
- Just desserts
- Optimism bias
- Self-serving bias