Individualistic and social motives for justice judgments

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Justice judgments are subjective by nature, and are influenced substantially by motivational processes. In the present contribution, two motives underlying justice judgments are examined: individualistic motives to evaluate solutions to social problems that benefit the self in material or immaterial ways as fair versus social motives to conceptualize justice in terms of the well-being of others, such as a desire for equality, adherence to in-group norms, and a concern for the collective interest. A review of relevant research reveals evidence for both motivations when people make evaluations of justice. Moreover, which motive is most dominant in the justice judgment process depends on perceptual salience: whereas individualistic motives are activated when a perceiver's own needs and goals are perceptually salient, social motives are activated when others' needs and goals are perceptually salient. It is concluded that both individualistic and social motives contribute in predictable ways to justice judgments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)60-67
    JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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