Justification and compensation: Rosier skies for the devalued victim

Douglas T. Kenrick, John W. Reich, Robert B. Cialdini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Investigated whether compensation and derogation of an innocent victim are mutually exclusive alternatives. 136 female undergraduates observed a confederate receiving a series of ostensibly painful shocks under conditions previously found to induce high levels of derogation. Ss were given a chance to compensate the confederate either before or after rating her personality. Consistent with predictions, Ss who observed suffering compensated significantly more than controls, regardless of whether they had derogated the victim before being given the opportunity to help. Although derogation had no attenuating effect on helping, a prior opportunity to aid the victim tended to diminish derogation of her personality in a manner consistent with prior results. Implications for traditional hydraulic explanations of reactions to suffering are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-657
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 1976
Externally publishedYes


  • compensation processes, female college students
  • exclusivity of justification &
  • victim derogation, subsequent opportunity to help victim &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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