Month: January 2018

New paper on what justifying one’s system does and does not do

Many of our recent studies are demonstrating that the same “political psychologies” are not the same across political contexts. Here is a new paper showing the same pattern. Its in press at PSPB.

A Comparison of Social Dominance Theory and System Justification Theory:

The Role of Social Status in 19 Nations

Salvador Vargas-Salfate

Dario Paez

James H. Liu

Felicia Pratto

Homero Gil de Zúñiga


This study tests specific competing hypotheses from social dominance theory/realistic conflict theory versus system justification theory about the role of social status. In particular, it examines whether system justification belief and effects are stronger among people with low socio-economic status, and in less social developed and unequal nations than among better-off people and countries. A cross-national survey was carried out in 19 nations from the Americas, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia and Oceania using representative online samples (N=14,936; 50.15% women; Mage=41.61). At the individual level, System Justification beliefs, Right Wing Authoritarianism, Social Dominance Orientation, national identification, sociopolitical conservatism, sex, age, and social status were measured. At the national level, the Human Development Index and the Gini Index were used. Multilevel analyses performed indicated that results fit better with the social dominance/realistic conflict theory approach, as system justification was higher in high status and developed nations; further, associations between legitimizing ideologies and system justification were stronger among high status people.