Just-World phenomenon

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The Just-World phenomenon is when people think that, because someone has bad things happen to them, they did something to deserve the bad things. The concept is a lot like Karma, except it is a fallacy instead of a religious belief. The phenomenon also happens in reverse, with good things being deserved.

Examples[change | edit source]

  • Amy is watching Bob cook. Bob gets burnt by the hot frying pan. Amy assumes this is because Bob did something mean to Amy's friend Charles. (Here, the Just-World phenomenon is happening in Amy's mind. Bob getting burnt has nothing to do with Charles.)
  • Albert is watching Brianna walk across the room. when Brianna touches the doorknob, she is shocked by static electricity. Albert decides that this is because she does not give to charity. (Brianna giving to charity has nothing to do with getting shocked. She was walking across the carpet in socks, which is why she was shocked.)
  • Brianna watches Albert buy a lottery ticket. Albert later wins. Brianna thinks this is because Albert said "thank you" when buying the ticket.

Related pages[change | edit source]