The September 11 terrorist attacks demonstrated, for many people, that the world is not fair. This was especially distressing for people who had previously believed in a just world. Psychologists from Michigan Statue University and the University of California, Santa Barbara suggest that its this challenge to the view that the world is just that produced not only peoples distress after September 11, but also their desire for revenge.
In a study to be published in the July issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society, Cheryl R. Kaiser, S. Brooke Vick and Brenda Major compared students belief in a just world prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks to their distress after the attacks and their feelings about revenge.
They found that those who had a stronger belief in a just world before the terrorist attacks were more distressed by the attacks and also had more of a desire for revenge. Similarly, those who were most distressed by the attacks were also the ones who had the strongest feelings of revenge.
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