The CAD Triad Hypothesis: A Mapping Between Three Moral Emotions (Contempt, Anger, Disgust) and Three Moral Codes (Community, Autonomy, Divinity)

Hiroshima Shudo University, Hirosima, Hiroshima, Japan
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 04/1999; 76(4):574-86. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.76.4.574
Source: PubMed


It is proposed that 3 emotions--contempt, anger, and disgust--are typically elicited, across cultures, by violations of 3 moral codes proposed by R. A. Shweder and his colleagues (R. A. Shweder, N. C. Much, M. Mahapatra, & L. Park, 1997). The proposed alignment links anger to autonomy (individual rights violations), contempt to community (violation of communal codes including hierarchy), and disgust to divinity (violations of purity-sanctity). This is the CAD triad hypothesis. Students in the United States and Japan were presented with descriptions of situations that involve 1 of the types of moral violations and asked to assign either an appropriate facial expression (from a set of 6) or an appropriate word (contempt, anger, disgust, or their translations). Results generally supported the CAD triad hypothesis. Results were further confirmed by analysis of facial expressions actually made by Americans to the descriptions of these situations.

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    • "Hence, they may be less likely to see other's cheating as relevant to their own individual goals or rights. Compared to anger, disgust is associated with divinity-purity violations (Rozin et al., 1999) as opposed to the individual rights violations. This finding contributes to the growing body of research that shows for a given emotion-eliciting event, people from different cultures may have different interpretations and hence different emotional reactions (Scherer, 1997a, 1997b). "
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    • "Of the six empirical theses I have examined, the centrality of moral anger—not empathy—is perhaps clearest on the issue of motivation. When attempting to rectify injustices, responding to personal threats, or simply trying to achieve some highly desired moral goal, an enormous body of research in psychology suggests that anger is the best candidate for providing motivational power (Carver and Harmon-Jones 2009; Rozin et al. 1999; van Doorn et al. 2014). This provides ethicists a reason to privilege moral anger, and not empathy. "
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