Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

People who cannot escape a system are likely to defend the status quo, study finds

Date:
August 18, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
The freedom of emigration at will is internationally recognized as a human right. But, in practice, emigration is often restricted, whether by policy or by poverty. A new study finds that people who are told that their right to emigrate will be restricted have what could be considered a strange reaction: they respond by defending their country's system.

The freedom of emigration at will is internationally recognized as a human right. But, in practice, emigration is often restricted, whether by policy or by poverty. A new study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, finds that people who are told that their right to emigrate will be restricted have what could be considered a strange reaction: they respond by defending their country's system.

Related Articles


The researchers suspected that people who are under an oppressive regime might try to see their situation in the best light possible. "When you're stuck with something, one tendency is to make peace with it and try to see it in as much of a positive light as you can," says Kristin Laurin, who cowrote the study with Steven Shepherd and Aaron C. Kay at the University of Waterloo. But it was also possible to have the opposite reaction: "Other times, when you're told that you can't have something, that makes you want it more."

In one experiment for the study, 28 Canadian women read a paragraph about freedom of emigration from Canada. Half read a paragraph saying that moving out of Canada would become easier in the next few years, and the other half read a paragraph saying that this would become more difficult. Then the women read another paragraph that described gender inequality in Canada -- for example, that "men's starting salaries are a full 20% higher than women's starting salaries." The women who read that emigration would become harder were less likely to attribute that gender inequality to a systemic problem with their country. The researchers interpret that to mean that people who feel trapped in their country are more likely to try to justify the country's system and rationalize away its dissatisfactory elements.

"We focused on policies, but there are a lot of other reasons that make it hard for people to leave. One of these is poverty," says Laurin. "It's a depressing thought that the poor, the very people who are put in the worst position by a particular system, might be the ones that are the most motivated to defend that system."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kristin Laurin, Steven Shepherd, Aaron C. Kay. Restricted Emigration, System Inescapability, and Defense of the Status Quo: System-Justifying Consequences of Restricted Exit Opportunities. Psychological Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1177/0956797610375448

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "People who cannot escape a system are likely to defend the status quo, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816142129.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, August 18). People who cannot escape a system are likely to defend the status quo, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816142129.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "People who cannot escape a system are likely to defend the status quo, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816142129.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

100-Year-Old Woman Sees Ocean for First Time

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) Ruby Holt spent most of her 100 years on a farm in rural Tennessee, picking cotton and raising four children. She saw the ocean for the first time thanks to her assisted living center and a group that grants wishes to the elderly. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins