Papers of BAS. Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 5, 2018, No. 2

Belief in a just world: Perspectives, psychological approaches and research results

Ergyul Tair

Abstract. The paper presents briefly different perspectives: philosophical, sociological, and psychological in the field of justice theory and research. The just world hypothesis and the individual differences in belief in a just world, measured throughout different scales, are discussed. Distinction between personal (when someone is treated fairly) and general (when people get what they deserve) is made. There are also surveys on justice sensitivity (people’s reactions toward perceived unfairness/unequal treatment) and justice centrality (personal distress about injustice and the satisfaction of someone’s own fairness). The results of Bulgarian study on belief in a just world and justice sensitivity and centrality are presented. The sample includes 457 respondents aged between 18 and 71 years. Average levels on general and personal belief in a just world are established, and statistically significant differences depending on age, gender and ethnic origin are traced out in the respondents’ justice centrality and justice sensitivity.

Keywords: belief in a just world (BJW), individual differences, Bulgarian results