Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification

John T. Jost, Aaron C. Kay, Hulda Thorisdottir

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This volume both reflects and exemplifies the recent resurgence of interest in the social and psychological characteristics and processes that give rise to ideological forms. Ideology is an elusive, multifaceted construct that can usefully be analyzed in terms of "top-down" processes related to the social construction and dissemination of ideology, as well as to "bottom-up" processes, including dispositional and situational factors, that make certain ideological outcomes more likely than others. The twenty chapters of this volume focus on the cognitive and motivational antecedents and consequences of adopting specific ideologies, the functions served by those ideologies, and the myriad ways in which people accept and justify (versus reject) aspects of the social and political worlds they inhabit. Current challenges and future directions for the study of ideology and system justification are also discussed in several chapters. The volume represents a wide variety of research traditions bearing on the social and psychological bases of ideology and system justification. These traditions include (a) the study of attitudes, social cognition, and information processing at both conscious and nonconscious levels of awareness, (b) theories of motivated reasoning and goal-directed cognition, (c) research on personality and dispositional correlates of political orientation, (d) work on social justice and the origins of moral values, (e) the myriad ways in which social and political opinions are shaped by local situations and environments, and (f) studies of stereotyping, prejudice, and the ideological correlates of intergroup attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages552
ISBN (Electronic)9780199869541
ISBN (Print)9780195320916
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • Authoritarianism
  • Belief in a just world
  • Conservatism
  • Liberalism
  • Motivated reasoning
  • Political attitudes
  • Political ideology
  • Procedural fairness
  • System justification
  • Terror management theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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