Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations

Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 06/2009; 96(5):1029-46. DOI: 10.1037/a0015141
Source: PubMed


How and why do moral judgments vary across the political spectrum? To test moral foundations theory (J. Haidt & J. Graham, 2007; J. Haidt & C. Joseph, 2004), the authors developed several ways to measure people's use of 5 sets of moral intuitions: Harm/care, Fairness/reciprocity, Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, and Purity/sanctity. Across 4 studies using multiple methods, liberals consistently showed greater endorsement and use of the Harm/care and Fairness/reciprocity foundations compared to the other 3 foundations, whereas conservatives endorsed and used the 5 foundations more equally. This difference was observed in abstract assessments of the moral relevance of foundation-related concerns such as violence or loyalty (Study 1), moral judgments of statements and scenarios (Study 2), "sacredness" reactions to taboo trade-offs (Study 3), and use of foundation-related words in the moral texts of religious sermons (Study 4). These findings help to illuminate the nature and intractability of moral disagreements in the American "culture war."

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Available from: Brian Nosek, Oct 03, 2015
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    • "There is probably no moral intuition more fundamental and ubiquitous than the rejection of cruelty or the infliction of harm for purely selfish reasons (Gert, 2004; Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009; Greene, 2012; Henrich et al., 2006; Piazza, Landy, & Goodwin, 2014; Pinker, 2012; Sinnott-Armstrong, 2009; Sousa, Holbrook, & Piazza, 2009; Sousa & Piazza, 2014; Turiel, 1983). Historically, societies have not always agreed on which actions constitute cruelty or which individuals and entities are deserving of protection from such abuses (Haslam & Loughnan, 2014; Piazza et al., 2014; Singer, 2011). "
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    • "For their part, value-oriented citizens hold higher-order principles to be fundamental and as a priority both in evaluating individual action and in assessing the legitimacy of state policies. Similar observations in the way people relate to authority on the grounds of different moral convictions have also been advanced by Moral Foundations Theory (see Graham et al., 2012, 2009), which posits that different political ideologies and orientations are based on different fundamental moral convictions. In terms of this theory, rule-oriented citizens should judge authority on the grounds of the moral foundation of the authority (i.e., obeying traditional and legitimate authority), role-oriented citizens should principally use the moral foundation of loyalty (e.g., standing with your group, family, nation), and value-oriented citizens should principally apply the moral foundations of care (i.e., cherishing and protecting others) and liberty (i.e., the loathing of tyranny ). "
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    ABSTRACT: In Crimes of obedience, Kelman and Hamilton argue that societies can be protected by the degeneration of authority only when citizenship is based on a strong values orientation. This reference to values may be the weakest point in their theory because they do not explicitly define these values. Nevertheless, their empirical findings suggest that the authors are referring to specific democratic principles and universal values (e.g., equality, fairness, harmlessness). In this article, a composite index known as the value-oriented citizenship (VOC) index is introduced and empirically analysed. The results confirm that the VOC index discriminates between people who relate to authority based on values rather than based on their role or on rules in general. The article discusses the utility of the VOC index to develop Kelman and Hamilton's framework further empirically as well as its implications for the analysis of the relationship between individuals and authority.
    Social Science Research 10/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ssresearch.2015.08.006 · 1.27 Impact Factor
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    • "In particular, we did not find any modulation in the left-wing group, a result that is consistent with our previous finding (Liuzza et al., 2011). It is held that values such as in-group loyalty (Graham et al., 2009) and social conformity (Altemeyer, 1998) have a higher impact on right-wing than on left-wing voters. Thus, in our study, social similarity might have affected right-wing voters more than left-wing voters. "
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