Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Some people are always better-off than others on desirable characteristics such as attractiveness, wealth, or intelligence. Moreover, such differences can often only be explained by arbitrary factors such as luck. Under these circumstances, how do we judge those favored by luck, particularly when we're not? Do we hold them responsible for their fortune; do we become suspicious of them? I hypothesized that people negatively judge others who benefit from luck, especially when experiencing relative disadvantage. Specifically, others advantaged by luck should be liked less and perceived as less warm by those who did not have the same fortune. Furthermore, this effect on social judgments should hold particularly for individuals who believe in the deterministic power of luck or in luck as a personal characteristic. Prior research offers conflicting predictions about the role of luck in social judgments and ignores the impact of individuals' beliefs in luck. In response, the present research attempted to offer clear and novel insights about the role that perceived luck plays in social judgment. Hypotheses were comprehensively addressed through three studies utilizing both correlational (Study 1) and experimental methods (Studies 2 and 3). Moreover, Study 3 examined whether the hypothesized effect on judgments of warmth reduces inter-personal trust in actual behavior. In general, the results reveal that perceived relative disadvantage predicts less positive social judgments of lucky others and that perceived luck can undermined social judgments of others.
Johar, Omesh, "When Lady Luck cheats on you" (2014). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 14059.