Jaime Napier is an Assistant Professors of Psychology at Yale University. Her primary research interest is the effects of societal injustice, including how members of advantaged and disadvantaged groups diverge in their perceptions and explanations of injustice; how political and religious ideologies may ameliorate the outrage associated with perceived injustice; and the consequences of accepting or rationalizing injustice on individual subjective well-being and self-esteem.
At the third annual conference on Law and Mind Sciences, which took place in March of 2009, Napier’s fascinating presentation was titled “The Palliative Function of Ideology.” Here’s the abstract:
In this research, we drew on system-justification theory and the notion that conservative ideology serves a palliative function to explain why conservatives are happier than liberals. Specifically, in three studies using nationally representative data from the United States and nine additional countries, we found that right-wing (vs. left-wing) orientation is indeed associated with greater subjective well-being and that the relation between political orientation and subjective well-being is mediated by the rationalization of inequality. In our third study, we found that increasing economic inequality (as measured by the Gini index) from 1974 to 2004 has exacerbated the happiness gap between liberals and conservatives, apparently because conservatives (more than liberals) possess an ideological buffer against the negative hedonic effects of economic inequality.
You can watch her presentation on the two (roughly 9-minute) videos below.
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For more information about the Project on Law and Mind Sciences, click here.
For a sample of related Situationist posts, see “The Blame Frame – Abstract,” “The Deeply Captured Situation of the Economic Crisis,” “Conference on the Free Market Mindset,” “Sam Gosling on the Meaning of the Stuff in our Situation,” “Ideology is Back!,” “Barbara Ehrenreich on the Sources of and Problems with Dispositionism,” “The Motivated Situation of Inequality and Discrimination,” “John Jost on System Justification Theory,” “John Jost’s “System Justification and the Law” – Video,” “The Situation of Political and Religious Beliefs?,” “The Situation of Ideology – Part I,” and “The Situation of Ideology – Part II.”