Symmetries and asymmetries in the belief in a just world

Mariia Kaliuzhna

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number109940
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • Belief in a Just World
    • Just desserts
    • Karma
    • Optimism bias
    • Self-serving bias


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