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Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification$
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John T. Jost, Aaron C. Kay, and Hulda Thorisdottir

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195320916

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320916.001.0001

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Group Status and Feelings of Personal Entitlement: The Roles of Social Comparison and System-Justifying Beliefs

Group Status and Feelings of Personal Entitlement: The Roles of Social Comparison and System-Justifying Beliefs

Chapter:
(p.427) CHAPTER 17 Group Status and Feelings of Personal Entitlement: The Roles of Social Comparison and System-Justifying Beliefs
Source:
Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification
Author(s):

Laurie T. O'Brien

Brenda Major

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320916.003.017

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.

Keywords:   bias, entitlement, inequality, status, social comparison processes, system justification

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