Reactions to the Belief in a Just World Theory and Findings

The ‘Nay-Sayers’
  • Melvin J. Lerner
Part of the Perspectives in Social Psychology book series (CISJ)


The central theme of the “Belief in a Just World” theory creates a rather chilling image of humanity. It begins by describing how we live in a society that tolerates the widespread suffering and deprivation of innocent victims. Then the evidence is added that, for the sake of our own security, we either avoid these injustices, or we add to them by finding reasons to condemn the victims. We do this for quite understandable reasons. We want to—have to—believe that our world is so constructed that terrible things happen to people who deserve them because they were “terrible” to others.


Fair Procedure Innocent Victim World Theory Terrible Thing Verbal Testimony 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melvin J. Lerner
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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