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Challenging the Status Quo: System Justification Theory and Impressions of Activists

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abstract
Challenges to the societal status quo often garner partisan support along two sides: people who are for a cause and people who are against it. System justification motivations (SJM) serve as critical underlying factors in the maintenance of our current social system and the reception of challenges to the status quo (e.g., Jost & Banaji, 1994; Jost, Banaji, & Nosek, 2004). The current research built upon this understanding by investigating the influence of system justification motivation on the formation of impressions of sociopolitical activists. Our results indicated that under systemic challenge, the impression of the activist target was not significantly different from the non-activist target. However, when the system was affirmed, a strong positive impression of the activist target as was formed along an adventurous/reckless trait dimension, and the activist was also seen as more adventurous than non-activists in affirmation conditions. This work holds important implications for activists, suggesting that in contexts where the system they are working within is regarded positively, system challenging activists will be received in a positive manner. These results could directly impact how parties effectively communicate their stances in order to be heard by those that have opposing views.
subject
Person Perception
Social Justice
contributor
Spruill, Mikaela (author)
Seta, Catherine (committee chair)
Kiang, Lisa (committee member)
Petrocelli, John (committee member)
Parks, Gregory S. (committee member)
date
2018-05-24T08:36:09Z (accessioned)
2020-05-23T08:30:19Z (available)
2018 (issued)
degree
Psychology (discipline)
embargo
2020-05-23 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/90727 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Challenging the Status Quo: System Justification Theory and Impressions of Activists
type
Thesis

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