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Article

Just world belief and the image of the perfect political leader: The role of national identification

Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics. 2015. Vol. 12. No. 3. P. 30-40.

Political leaders need the support of other citizens to exercise that influence and perform their functions. According to the leader categorization theory, people give more support to the leaders which fit a certain prototype – the idea of a perfect leader. In this study we analyze the link between just world belief, Russian national identity and the idea of a perfect leader. We assumed that the more people believe in a just world, the stronger their national identity is. The more they identify with Russia, the more support they expect from their political leader, and the more power they award to him. Members of psychological and political groups in Russian social media have participated in the study (N = 294). They filled out an online version of the survey, which included scales for measuring just world belief, Russian national identity and the idea of a perfect political leader. To test the hypotheses structural modeling was used. The results confirmed the hypotheses. At the same time, they show, that belief that the world is just towards other people plays a bigger role, than belief in the world being just towards one’s self.