Victim entitlement to behave selfishly

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010 Feb;98(2):245-55. doi: 10.1037/a0017168.


Three experiments demonstrated that feeling wronged leads to a sense of entitlement and to selfish behavior. In Experiment 1, participants instructed to recall a time when their lives were unfair were more likely to refuse to help the experimenter with a supplementary task than were participants who recalled a time when they were bored. In Experiment 2, the same manipulation increased intentions to engage in a number of selfish behaviors, and this effect was mediated by self-reported entitlement to obtain positive (and avoid negative) outcomes. In Experiment 3, participants who lost at a computer game for an unfair reason (a glitch in the program) requested a more selfish money allocation for a future task than did participants who lost the game for a fair reason, and this effect was again mediated by entitlement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Crime Victims* / psychology
  • Ego*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morals
  • Social Behavior*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires