Reactions to incongruous negative life events

Michelle L. Buck, Dale T. Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that incongruous misfortunes generate stronger affective reactions and perceptions of injustice than do equally severe and equally probable congruous misfortunes. Incongruous misfortunes are defined as ones that bring to mind thoughts or images of the misfortune either happening to a different person or happening to the same person by a different means. In a series of studies, victims of incongruous negative life events (e.g., wartime casualties of "friendly" five) were expected to experience stronger reactions of regret, shock, outrage, and perceived injustice than victims of more congruous versions of the same events. Differences between reactions to incongruous misfortunes and subjectively improbable misfortunes are explored.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-46
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Justice Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1994


  • deservingness
  • incongruous misfortunes
  • negative life events

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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