Group Status and Feelings of Personal Entitlement: The Roles of Social Comparison and System-Justifying Beliefs
This chapter examines the relationship between group status and feelings of personal entitlement. Considered are two mechanisms that affect feelings of personal entitlement: social comparison processes and system justification. Biases to compare one’s outcomes with the outcomes of similar others and with one’s own past outcomes lead to different reference standards for people from high-status versus low-status groups. The use of different reference standards creates group differences in feelings of personal entitlement. System justifying beliefs justify hierarchical and unequal relationships among groups in society. System justifying beliefs lead to the inference that groups that possess more social goods (high-status groups) must have greater inputs (e.g., intelligence, skill) than groups with fewer social goods (low-status groups). The inference that high-status groups have more inputs than low-status groups may lead to the belief that they deserve greater outcomes and thus increase feelings of personal entitlement among members of high-status groups and decrease entitlement among members of low-status groups. The chapters describe a recent program of research on the role of system justifying beliefs in creating group differences in personal entitlement, and discuss potential strategies for eliminating group differences in personal entitlement as well as directions for future research.
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