Injustice and Human Rights Decision Science

Within an increasingly globalized and informed world, when and why do people act in response to injustice befalling others? Both in more immediate/domestic contexts (e.g., local poverty) and also in distant/foreign contexts (e.g., mass atrocity; state failure; group conflict), people frequently perceive injustice befalling others or receive information about violations of human rights. What explains why some injustice motivates people to act and other injustice is largely ignored? Understanding how people make judgments and decisions regarding domestic and foreign human rights challenges is of great theoretical, as well as practical, importance. One focus of the lab concerns what might broadly be termed ‘injustice and human rights decision science,’ which explores not only the way people make decisions regarding injustice and human-rights, but also seeks to improve decision-making procedures, policies, and structures to account for human decision-making patterns.

One program of research in this area of work examines how factors such as presentation (e.g., framing or info-graphics), emotions, and cognitive biases help to explain how people go about making decisions and judgments about whether, as well as how, to act in response to injustice befalling others. For example, does the way people engage with information about injustice, such as via differing forms of journalism, in film/documentary, or in fiction, affect willingness to get involved with injustice? This line of work is also concerned with questions related to how geo-political realities, including international relations and geography, inform how people respond to human rights violation.

Another set of studies in this umbrella of research is focused on understanding when, how, and why people factor race and human rights in their decision-making, as well as the factors that explain how people go about applying constitutional and human rights. For example, how does the target or perpetrator of an injustice, as well as the context which an injustice occurs, affect the way people apply constitutional and human rights? When do people view race of a perpetrator or victim as ‘relevant’ or ‘irrelevant’ to the way they make race-related decisions? A second focus within the decision-making program of work explores decision-making patterns (and potential biases) concerning when and how people make judgments and decisions about how to apply rights to a target.

In sum, drawing on economics, media studies, and the study of geo-political international relations, this program of work focuses on the way people approach judgments and decisions about injustice, human rights, and application of constitutional rights.


Featured Publications

Glasford, D. E. & Pratto, F.P. (2014).
When extraordinary injustice leads
to ordinary response: How perpetrator
power and size of an injustice event
affect bystander efficacy and collective
action. European Journal of Social
Psychology, 44,
590-601. (PDF)

Glasford, D.E. (2013). Seeing is
believing. Communication modality,
anger, and support for action on
behalf of out-groups. Journal of
Applied Social Psychology, 43
2223-2230. (PDF)

Pratto, F., & Glasford, D.E. (2008).
Ethnocentrism and the value of a
human life. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 95
, 1411-1428.

Comments are closed.