the less money the volunteer received in compensation for her suffering the more the subjects disliked her. The people explained the woeful injustice by assuming that it was her own fault: she was shocked because she wasn't paying attention, or was incapable of learning, or that the pain would help her perform better. The martyrs fared even worse. Even though this victim was supposedly performing an act of altruism - she was suffering for the sake of others - the witnesses thought she was the most culpable of all. Her pain was proof of her guilt.In other words, the observerers altered their judgment in order to reconcile their sense of moral justice. The results suggest that participants believe that if a woman is being tortured, surely she must deserve it. If a man is wrongly executed, ultimately it doesn't matter because he was probably a scummy person.
It's certainly created some dissonance in my own mind. I've always believed, no matter what else is going on in my life or in the world, that people are good at heart and that ultimately we all want the same things: a chance for happiness for ourselves, those we love, and fellow man. But seeing how disingenuine politicians are and watching the mainstream media perpetuate falsehoods have been incredibly disturbing and disheartening.