Deservingness, the scope of justice, and actions toward others

James M. Olson, Irene Cheung, Paul Conway, Carolyn L. Hafer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter, the authors report three studies that examined the psychological mechanisms underlying the eects of several factors previously shown to inuence decisions to help or harm a target. In particular, the studies tested whether the perceived deservingness of a target for favorable (or unfavorable) treatment or, instead, the inclusion (or exclusion) of the target in the perceiver’s “scope of justice” best accounted for the effects of variables that have been hypothesized by previous theorists to operate by means of the latter mechanism (inclusion-exclusion). In the rest of the two studies, the authors manipulated the usefulness of the target, the degree of conflict between the target and the perceiver, and the similarity between the target and the perceiver. The results of these studies provided some support for a deservingness perspective but no support for a scope of justice perspective. In a third study, the authors tested whether exclusion from the scope of justice might indeed occur, but only in relatively extreme conditions. They conclude the chapter with suggestions for future research on this issue.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Psychology of Justice and Legitimacy
Subtitle of host publicationThe Ontario Symposium Volume 11
EditorsD. Ramona Bobocel, Aaron C. Kay, Mark P. Zanna, James M. Olson
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherPsychology Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9780203837658
ISBN (Print)9781848728783, 9781138984134
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2010

Publication series

NameOntario Symposia on Personality and Social Psychology Series
PublisherPsychology Press


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