Social Justice Research

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 29–46 | Cite as

Reactions to incongruous negative life events

  • Michelle L. Buck
  • Dale T. Miller


We hypothesized that incongruous misfortunes generate stronger affective reactions and perceptions of injustice than do equally severe and equally probable congruous misfortunes. Incongruous misfortunes are defined as ones that bring to mind thoughts or images of the misfortune either happening to a different person or happening to the same person by a different means. In a series of studies, victims of incongruous negative life events (e.g., wartime casualties of “friendly” five) were expected to experience stronger reactions of regret, shock, outrage, and perceived injustice than victims of more congruous versions of the same events. Differences between reactions to incongruous misfortunes and subjectively improbable misfortunes are explored.

Key Words

incongruous misfortunes negative life events deservingness 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle L. Buck
    • 1
  • Dale T. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Princeton UniversityPrinceton

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