The Skitka Lab’s interests in moral conviction came to a considerable degree out of research interests in how people reason about distributive and procedural justice. Distributive justice refers to the principles people use to guide the allocation of the benefits and burdens of social cooperation. Procedural justice refers to how different characteristics of procedures can enhance or detract from perceptions of fairness. Our lab’s work in this area includes research on the "moral mandate effect," that is, the tendency for people to care less (if at all) about procedural fairness and institutional legitimacy when they have strong moral convictions about preferred outcomes (e.g., that abortion be legal or illegal), and some of the consequences when authorities and institutions yield outcomes that people judge as immoral, such as subsequent reduced levels of decision acceptance. For abstracts of recent articles describing this work, click here. My other recent work on justice has been focused developing an integrative and contingent theory that can account for existing research on the fair process effect as well as the moral mandate effect, and that can make predictions about when different factors (e.g., procedures, outcomes) and needs or concerns (e.g., material, social, and moral) are likely to dominate people's fairness reasoning.

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