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Immanent Justice Reasoning by Spatial Proximity

Callan, Mitchell J and Moreton, Joshua and Hughes, Gethin (2021) 'Immanent Justice Reasoning by Spatial Proximity.' Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12 (1). pp. 25-33. ISSN 1948-5506

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Immanent justice reasoning involves causally attributing someone’s bad outcome to their prior immoral actions. Building on the idea that causality is mentally linked with spatial proximity, we investigated whether such reasoning might lead participants to spatially bind together immoral actions and bad outcomes. Across 4 experiments (N = 553 Mechanical Turk workers), participants positioned sentences describing other people’s bad (vs. good) outcomes closer in space to previous immoral behaviours. This effect was observed both when the position of the initial action remained in a fixed location and when it “chased” the outcome across the screen. Importantly, we also found that this spatial positioning of immoral actions and bad outcomes is mediated by perceived deservingness of the outcome and is not merely due to perceived similarity of events. These findings suggest that perceived deservingness biases the spatial proximity of representations of others’ random bad outcomes and their prior immoral actions.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: immanent justice; metaphorical thinking; spatial proximity; deservingness; perceived similarity
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2019 13:56
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:07

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