Behavioral and Brain Sciences2013-09-05 2:57 AM

The Meaning and Role of Ideology in System Justification and Resistance for High- and Low-status People

Abstract In this article we explore how beliefs about system ideals and the achievement of those ideals differentially predict system justification among low- and high-status groups. Our goal was to reconcile how people can promote system ideals such as equal opportunities for all and at the same time recognize that group-based disparities are, in part, due to these unfulfilled ideals. Three studies examined whether people perceived a discrepancy between a system’s ideal goals and its achievement of those goals. Everyone endorsed these goal ideals more than they believed that the goals were being achieved; however, this discrepancy was larger for low-status people. The larger the perceived discrepancy, the more dissatisfied people were with the system and the more likely they were to support hierarchy-attenuating policies. Studies 2 and 3 also examined people’s motivation for endorsing goal ideals. People of all statuses endorsed system ideals to promote an ideal system more than to legitimize the actual system (Study 2); however, high-status people were slightly more likely to endorse system ideals to legitimize the actual system than low-status people (Study 3). In summary, low-status people were more likely than high-status people to recognize discrepancies between system goals and system outcomes, show dissatisfaction with the American system, and prefer policies that would attenuate extant hierarchies. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)

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Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Behavioral and Brain Sciences is a peer-reviewed scientific journal of Open Peer Commentary established in 1978 by Stevan Harnad and published by Cambridge University Press. It is modeled on the journal Current Anthropology (which was established in 1959 by the University of Chicago anthropologist, Sol Tax).

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