A Surprising Effect of Similarity

A Surprising Effect of Similarity

In general, people like those who are similar to themselves due to perceived familiarity. There is a major exception to this rule, however. A process known by psychologists as defensive attribution recognizes a tendency for people to hold victims of misfortune responsible for their fate; this tendency is pronounced when the victim is similar to the observer and when the consequences are severe. Defensive attribution occurs because, the more one is personally threatened by an injustice, the more one needs to protect oneself from believing one could suffer the same misfortune. Defensive attribution has obvious implications for jury selection strategy: favorable jurors may not be who you think they are!

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