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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    • "Contempt refers to the negative evaluation of others in terms of their socially or ethical conduct (Rozin, Lowery, Imada, & Haidt, 1999), and disgust describes an emotion experienced when 'ethics of divinity' (such as assaults on human dignity) are violated (Tangney, Stuewig, & Mashek, 2007). Since recent research in moral psychology has emphasised their strong conceptual and psychometric overlap (Hutcherson & Gross, 2011), these three emotions are conceptualised as a single factor (a 'triad') and hereafter referred to as hostility emotions (see also Rozin et al., 1999). Attribution theory holds that if an unethical incident is deemed to be due to forces over which the destination concerned had significant control, those affected will experience greater anger than if the incident was ascribed to forces over which the organisation had limited control (Han, Lerner, & Keltner, 2007; Roseman, 1991; Weiner, 1985). "
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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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    • "Our findings also provide further support for the notion disgust, in particular, is an important component of weight bias (Vartanian et al., 2013): neither contempt nor anger were differentially associated with the target based on her weight, and those emotions also did not predict any of the outcome variables. These findings fit with general conceptualizations of moral emotions (Hutcherson & Gross, 2011; Rozin et al., 1999). Obesity might be seen as an impurity or degradation of the self, and the behaviors presumed to make a person obese (e.g., overindulgence, laziness) may be seen an immoral behaviors, thus giving rise to a disgust response toward individuals who are obese. "

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