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How does the source of rejection perceive innocent victims?

Poon, K. T., & Chen, Z. (2015). How does the source of rejection perceive innocent victims? The Journal of Social Psychology, 155, 515-526.

2014 Impact Factor 0.981 | 5-year Impact Factor 1.257

2014 JCR Rank 47/62, Q4 in Psychology, Social | 2014 SJR Rank 104/262, Q2 in Psychology - Social Psychology


Prior studies have consistently revealed a strong positive association between general just-world beliefs and victim blaming. The present research aims to extend the literature by testing whether an act of social rejection overrides the influence of general just-world beliefs on victim blaming. Building upon the theory of moral compensation that people are more prosocial after behaving undesirably, we predicted that people should be less likely to blame an innocent victim after rejecting another person and that general just-world beliefs were not associated with victim blaming among the sources of rejection. To test these predictions, participants first completed a measure of general just-world beliefs and then recalled a past incident in which they rejected or accepted another person. They then read a scenario about school bullying and made attributions for the victim’s suffering. The results supported our predictions and the implications of the study are discussed.

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