The Belief in a Just World

  • Melvin J. Lerner
Part of the Perspectives in Social Psychology book series (CISJ)


The “belief in a just world” refers to those more or less articulated assumptions which underlie the way people orient themselves to their environment. These assumptions have a functional component which is tied to the image of a manageable and predictable world. These are central to the ability to engage in long-term goal-directed activity. In order to plan, work for, and obtain things they want, and avoid those which are frightening or painful, people must assume that there are manageable procedures which are effective in producing the desired end states (Erikson, 1950; Merton, 1957).


Social Psychological Experiment Good Citizen Happy Ending Norm Violator Ultimate Justice 
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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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