Rejecting Meritocracy: The Influence of Inclusion and Perceptions of Changeability on System Change Motivation in White Americans

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2021
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CHANGE MOTIVATION IN WHITE AMERICANS
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Haverford College. Department of Psychology
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Thesis
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eng
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Open Access
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Abstract
The present study examined if White Americans could be motivated to decrease their endorsement of meritocracy as a system-legitimizing ideology. Previous research has found that presenting a college orientation program as changeable made people more likely to seek information that was critical of the college, especially if that change was relevant to the individual (Johnson & Fujita, 2012). However, it is unclear if these variables also matter in activating White Americans' willingness to question ideologies that support the American system as a whole. The present research (n = 431) investigates whether presenting the American political system as changeable and presenting White Americans as the beneficiaries of system change would decrease White Americans' endorsement of meritocracy or increase system change motivation. Results did not support the importance of either of these factors as predictors of system change motivation or meritocracy endorsement; instead, exploratory analyses suggested that perceived changeability led to decreased support for meritocracy, but only when the change was perceived as positive. The influence of perceived system-change positivity on meritocracy support as well as the potential significance of the locus of system change are discussed.
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