My research focuses on the motivational underpinnings and the social and psychological consequences of belief systems, with a focus on political and religious ideologies. In particular, I am interested in (1) how uncertainty and threat may lead people to adopt more conservative political and religious belief systems that can imbue the world with order, meaning, and justice; (2) how the differential experiences of advantaged vs. disadvantaged group members can lead to different rationalizations of the status quo (e.g., inequality, namely, beliefs that the system is fair and meritocratic vs. beliefs that the system is natural or divinely dictated; and (3) the consequences of system-justifying beliefs on subjective well-being.
My research suggests that justification of system-level inequalities, including income and gender inequality, is related to increased subjective well-being for members of both advantaged and disadvantaged groups, even though these beliefs can bolster systems that negatively affect objective well-being. In my work, I combine classic social-psychological experimental methods with advanced statistical techniques using large-scale survey data, such as multilevel modeling and structural equation methods.
- Law and Public Policy
- Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
- Political Psychology
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Sociology, Social Networks
- Jost, J. T., Federico, C. M., & Napier, J. L. (2009). Political ideology: Its structure, functions, and elective affinities. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 307-338.
- Kay, A. C., Gaucher, D., Napier, J. L., Callan, M., & Laurin, K. (2008). God and the government: Testing a compensatory control mechanism for the support of external systems. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 18-35.
- Napier, J. L., & Jost, J. T. (2008). Why are conservatives happier than liberals? Psychological Science, 19, 565-572.
- Napier, J. L., Mandisodza, A. N., Andersen, S. M., & Jost, J. T. (2006). System justification in responding to the poor and displaced in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 6, 57-73.
- Napier, J. L., Thorisdottir, H., & Jost, J. T. (under review). The joy of sexism? A multinational investigation of hostile and benevolent justifications for gender inequality and their relation to subjective well-being. Sex Roles.
Department of Psychology
2 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, Connecticut 06520
- Phone: (203) 432-4500