Judgments of deservingness: Studies in the psychology of justice and achievement

N. T. Feather

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    201 Citations (Scopus)


    This article presents a review and conceptual analysis of the concept ofdeservingness that incorporates the effects of personal values, perceived responsibility, ingroup-outgroup relations, and like-dislike relations. Selected studies show that reactions to another's success or failure and to the rise or fall of "tall poppies" or high achievers depends on the degree to which the positive or negative outcome is seen to be deserved; that individual differences in personal values and in value syndromes may be assumed to affect deservingness via the subjective values assigned to actions and outcomes; that group membership, status, interpersonal liking-disliking, and perceived moral character also affect judgments of deservingness; and that deservingness is a key variable that mediates how observers react to penalties imposed on the perpetrators of different kinds of offense. It is argued that the inclusion of deservingness goes beyond approaches in which perceived responsibility is accorded central status by adding a further link in the causal chain, thus enabling a more complete consideration of the effects of justice and value variables on how people react to positive and negative outcomes for both self and other.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)86-107
    Number of pages22
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 1999


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