Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 46 Issue 3 (March 2016), Pages 141-200

Developing critical awareness: the consequences of action and reflection for perceptions of group injustices (pages 143-157)


Individuals often cannot address (objective) group injustices until they develop a (subjective) critical awareness of them. In three studies, we tested two potential psychological pathways toward critical awareness: Reflection (deductive, knowledge driven) and action (inductive, action driven) mindsets. Across studies, participants were exposed to an objectively unjust event, enacted by the experimenter. Based on a pilot study (N = 31) and first experiment (N = 28), we developed the hypothesis that action (vs. reflection) mindsets increase group entitativity (due to their reliance on expectancy effects), but not necessarily (subjective) critical awareness of (objective) group injustice. Study 2 (N = 121) confirmed this hypothesis. We discuss the difficulties of developing (subjective) critical awareness of (objective) group injustices.

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