Why do we stick up for a system or institution we live in -- a government, company, or marriage -- even when anyone else can see it is failing miserably? Why do we resist change even when the system is corrupt or unjust? A new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science, illuminates the conditions under which we're motivated to defend the status quo -- a process called "system justification." ...Yes I am frustrated that people do not rise up against the family court and its corrupt network of shrinks. So I guess I need to understand why they resist the change that I think is necessary.
When we feel we can't escape a system, we adapt. That includes feeling okay about things we might otherwise consider undesirable. ... "You'd think that when people are stuck with a system, they'd want to change it more," says Kay. But in fact, the more stuck they are, the more likely are they to explain away its shortcomings. Finally, a related phenomenon: The less control people feel over their own lives, the more they endorse systems and leaders that offer a sense of order.
The research on system justification can enlighten those who are frustrated when people don't rise up in what would seem their own best interests. Says Kay: "If you want to understand how to get social change to happen, you need to understand the conditions that make people resist change and what makes them open to acknowledging that change might be a necessity."
In other psych news, an article claims to tell How to spot a liar in 20 seconds flat. Life would be simpler if that were really true. I think a big problem is people who think that they can spot liars when they cannot. I would like to spot them in 20 seconds.