Here’s why I don’t have time for psychobabble. Case in point, a new study appearing in “Psychological Science”:
People who see the world as essentially fair can just maintain this perception through a diminished sense of moral outrage, according to a study by researchers in New York University’s Department of Psychology. The findings appear in the March issue of the journal Psychological Science, which is published by the Association for Psychological Science.
. . . [I]n order to maintain their perceptions of the world as just, people resist changes that would increase the overall amount of fairness and equality in the system. Instead, they often engage in cognitive adjustments that preserve a distorted image of reality in which existing institutions are seen as more equitable and just than they are. The NYU research sought to explain how individuals make these cognitive adjustments in maintaining their world view, despite evidence of ongoing social and economic inequality. In the first part of the study–an experiment involving a series of questions and scenarios–the researchers found that the more people endorsed anti-egalitarian beliefs, the less guilt and moral outrage they felt. The reduction in moral outrage (but not guilt) led them to show decreased support for helping the disadvantaged and redistributing resources. . . NYU graduate student Cheryl J. Wakslak, the study’s lead author [said] “These results show that people who see the world as essentially fair and just can maintain this perspective if their sense of moral outrage is diminished.”
No, really! They’re saying that if people endorse “anti-egalitarian beliefs,” they’re less likely to be offended by lack of equality in distribution of resources and money? Amazing. Are these grad students receiving taxpayer funds? ‘Cause I’m sure hoping that MY funds aren’t helping them make these absurd tautological conclusions.
Nothing against psychologists or psychiatrists, because they serve an extremely valuable function in society. But studies that conclude the obvious are just a little too, oh, shall we say, edgy and risk-taking for me.
Let me guess. Ann Coulter must have NO sense of moral outrage, because she’s a died-in-the-wool conservative who strongly believes in redistribution of society’s wealth… R-i-i-i-i-ight . . . What’s really happening here: psychology grad students who aren’t canny enough to analyze their own a prioris before starting their research. Ask any good appellate lawyer: lay out your assumptions first–lay all your cards on the table–because those are the first weak points you’ll be hit on.