Belief in a Just World and Judgment in Moral Dilemmas

  •  Traipop Chaturapanich    
  •  Apitchaya Chaiwutikornwanich    


This paper addresses the influence of belief in a just world on moral judgment using moral dilemmas by observing the interactions with the following independent variables: 1) dual-process cognitions (automatic or deliberate), 2) the protagonist’s fate (bad, good, or absent), and 3) the type of dilemma (life-threatening or not). The results found no effects of belief in a just world on moral judgments. But an interaction between the protagonist’s fate and the dilemma type emerged as significant. In Study 1, the protagonist was identified as a victim, the participants accepted moral violations against the bad fate victim to a greater extent in the life-threatening situation (turning the car to crash into one man in order to save five men) than in the non-life-threatening situation (choosing an employee for dismissal to save the company’s financial status). In Study 2, the protagonist was specified as an offender. The participants accepted the violations against the good fate offender to a greater extent in the non-life-threatening than in the life-threatening situation. Meanwhile, the participants in the control groups (for whom the protagonist was not affected by fate) of both studies exhibited greater acceptance of moral violations in the non-life-threatening than the life-threatening situations.

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