Saturday, May 14, 2011

Does Making Choice Salient for Jurors Cause Them to Think About Personal Responsibilty?

The Unanticipated Interpersonal and Societal Consequences of Choice Victim Blaming and Reduced Support for the Public Good
Krishna Savani1⇓,
Nicole M. Stephens2 and
Hazel Rose Markus3
+ Author Affiliations
1Graduate School of Business, Columbia University
2Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
3Department of Psychology, Stanford University
Krishna Savani, Management Division, Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, 3022 Broadway, Uris Hall, New York, NY 10027 E-mail:

Choice makes North Americans feel more in control, free, and independent, and thus has many positive consequences for individuals’ motivation and well-being. We report five studies that uncovered novel consequences of choice for public policy and interpersonal judgments. Studies 1 through 3 found that activating the concept of choice decreases support for policies promoting intergroup equality (e.g., affirmative action) and societal benefits (e.g., reducing environmental pollution), but increases support for policies promoting individual rights (e.g., legalizing drugs). Studies 4 and 5 found that activating the concept of choice increases victim blaming and decreases empathy for disadvantaged people. Study 5 found that choice does not decrease Indians’ empathy for disadvantaged individuals, indicating that the social and interpersonal consequences of choice are likely culture-specific. This research suggests that the well-known positive effects of choice for individuals can be accompanied by an array of previously unexamined and potentially negative outcomes for other people and for society.
Published May 13, 2011

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