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Fuqua School of Business
Duke University

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Publications [#273275] of Aaron C. Kay

Journal Articles

  1. Gaucher, D; Hafer, CL; Kay, AC; Davidenko, N, Compensatory rationalizations and the resolution of everyday undeserved outcomes., Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, vol. 36 no. 1 (January, 2010), pp. 109-118, ISSN 0146-1672 [doi]
    (last updated on 2022/08/07)

    People prefer to perceive the world as just; however, the everyday experience of undeserved events challenges this perception.The authors suggest that one way people rationalize these daily experiences of unfairness is by means of a compensatory bias. People make undeserved events more palatable by endorsing the notion that outcomes naturally balance out in the end--good, yet undeserved, outcomes will balance out bad outcomes, and bad undeserved outcomes will balance out good outcomes.The authors propose that compensatory biases manifest in people's interpretive processes (Study 1) and memory (Study 2). Furthermore, they provide evidence that people have a natural tendency to anticipate compensatory outcomes in the future, which, ironically, might lead them to perceive a current situation as relatively more fair (Study 3).These studies highlight an understudied means of justifying unfairness and elucidate the justice motive's power to affect people's construal of their social world.

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