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Updated: Monday, April 12, 1999 10:50:22 AM

Schemas & Just world Belief Classical Conditioning Operant Conditioning
Sensory Memory Short Term Memory Long Term Memory
Confidence and Memory Heuristics Attribution
Norms Social Influence & Obedience All Notes in one view

Section 2: Schemas & Just World Belief

Conscious or unconscious assumptions, beliefs, & theories. Our associative networks & preconceptions (innate & learned).

Psychologists have investigated people's schema for believing that the world is a just place to live.  This area of research is referred to as the "Belief in a just world" or the "just world phenomenon".     Research participants can be given a questionnaire that measures the extent to which they believe the world is a just place, that is, that justice prevails: the good (moral) are reward and the bad (immoral) are punished.  Psychologists have found that people who strongly believe in a just world, tend to blame the victim in a situation.  Therefore people who have this schema tend to denigrate victims.

It is likely that the jurors in the Rodney King trial were people who subscribed to the "belief in a just world," because they came from a white middle class background.  Great injustice would only rarely be experienced in their world compared to the world in which Rodney King lived.

Examples two questions found on a "belief in a just world" questionnaire:

1. - Do you believe movies in which good triumphs over evil?
2. - It is rare for an innocent man to be wrongfully sent to jail?

A person who strongly endorses these kinds of items is more likely to subscribe to the "just world belief".





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