04 November, 2020

The belief that people who suffer will receive future virtuous rewards


A study published in the British journal of Social Psychology proposes that people expect suffering to result in a greater likelihood of attaining future rewards. This research was carried out by Dr. How Hwee Ong, Dr. Rob M. A. Nelissen and Dr. Ilja van Beest from the Department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University. 

There are two primary theories for why people believe that suffering in the present will lead to fortuitous rewards in the future. The first is known as the “just-world maintenance” explanation. This explanation states that individuals often believe that they’re living in a world where people get what they deserve. 

Thus, people who suffer unnecessarily will be compensated for the pain they’ve endured. In doing so, this will restore balance to a supposed just-world.

The alternative theory is known as the “virtuous suffering” explanation. This suggests that experiencing suffering can improve one’s moral character.