Beginning shortly after the 2nd World War, 3 lines of research associated with relative deprivation, equity theory, and just world contributed to the description of the influence of the justice motive in people's lives. By the late 1960s, these converging lines of research had documented the importance of people's desire for justice; nevertheless, contemporary social psychologists typically portray this justice-driven motivation as simply a manifestation of self-interest. The explanation for this failure to recognize a distinct and important justice motive points to the widespread reliance on research methods that elicit the participant's thoughtfully constructed narratives or role-playing responses. According to recent theoretical advances, these methods generate responses that reflect normative expectations of rational self-interest, and fail to capture the important effects of the emotionally generated imperatives of the justice motive.
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