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Sacred Values and Evil Adversaries: A Moral Foundations Approach

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Sacred Values and Evil Adversaries: A Moral Foundations Approach

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At the age of 87, several years after he had stopped writing, Isaiah Berlin responded to an invitation from a Chinese professor to summarize his ideas for publication in China. He produced an extraordinary essay that defended moral pluralism and warned against its enemy, moral monism (or moral absolutism), which he defined as the thesis that "to all true questions there must be one true answer and one only, all the other answers being false." He then wrote: Most revolutionaries believe, covertly or overtly, that in order to create the ideal world eggs must be broken, otherwise one cannot obtain the omelette. Eggs are certainly broken—never more violently or ubiquitously than in our times—but the omelette is far to seek, it recedes into an infinite distance. That is one of the corollaries of unbridled monism, as I call it—some call it fanaticism, but monism is at the root of every extremism. (Berlin, 1998) In this essay we build upon Berlin's idea 1 and argue that the elevation or "sacralization" of a moral principle or symbol is a major cause of evil. This idea has been developed quite ably by others in recent years (see Baumeister, 1997, on "idealistic evil"; Glover, 1999, on tribalism; and Skitka & Mullen, 2002, on the "dark side" of moral convictions). We hope to add to these analyses of morality and evil by offering a map of moral space which may be helpful in 1 We note that Berlin's use of the word "monism" did not refer to the elevation of a single moral principle but rather to the belief that there is a single correct truth, which might involve several moral principles. Nonetheless, as we will argue, when any moral principles are sacralized, it can lead to the kind of certainty, self-righteousness, and even the willingness to "break eggs" in pursuit of those moral principles that Berlin warned about.

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... In effect, many internalized moral norms concern the good and the rights of others, for example, do not kill, do not rob, do not inflict useless pain. Others, however, though they, too, may be internalized, do not concern relationships with others [see Moral Foundation Theory 5 , Haidt and Joseph, 2004;5 The Moral Foundation Theory proposed initially by Haidt and Joseph (2004) and subsequently expanded by Graham and Haidt (2012) identifies five moral domains: care, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity. The value of these studies and subsequent theorizations lies in their having opened up the study of moral psychology to dimensions that the influence of Anglo-Saxon liberal culture had caused to be ignored or excluded. ...
... Moral psychology does not concern only the horizontal dimension, referred to others, but also the vertical dimension, referred to supra-individual values. Graham and Haidt, 2012]. Some religious norms 6 , for example, such as the first three of the ten commandments, regulate explicitly and exclusively the relationship with the divinity and not relationships with other people: 1. ...
... Our distinction brings to mind: (1) the distinction between consequentialist morality and deontological morality , but for us the difference lies in the goals involved and not in how the information is elaborated; (2) the psychologicalevolutionary difference between the morality of justice (see Kohlberg, 1981) and the morality of care (see Gilligan, 1993), but in our view the two are not incompatible; (3) the psychosocial distinction between the different moral domains of Moral Foundation Theory (Haidt and Joseph, 2004;Graham and Haidt, 2012), but for us the difference is not based on interpersonal and social functions but on goals and beliefs. ...
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In this paper we argue in favor of the existence of two different guilt feelings: altruistic guilt (AG) and deontological guilt (DG). AG arises from having harmed, through one's own action or omission, an innocent victim, while DG arises from the transgression of an internalized norm. In most daily experiences of guilt feelings both types are present, but we argue that they are not traceable to each other and that each can be present without the other. We show that the two guilt feelings can be distinguished with reference to behavioral, cognitive, and neurophysiological aspects. Moreover, we demonstrate that they are differently related to other processes and emotions. AG is connected with pain, empathy and ToM. DG is strongly related to disgust. We briefly illustrate some implications for moral psychology and clinical psychology.
... Haidt and Joseph (2004) originally identified four "moral modules" that they later refined into five "moral foundations": (1) care/harm, (2) fairness/cheating, (3) loyalty/betrayal, (4) authority/subversion, and (5) sanctity/degradation (Haidt and Graham 2007). Graham and Haidt (2012) has since added a sixth foundation, liberty/oppression, and others have recommended additional foundations such as equality (as distinct from proportionality). ...
... The care/harm foundation is related to basic concerns about others' suffering by caring, nurturing, and protecting vulnerable individuals (Graham, Haidt, and Nosek 2009;Haidt, Graham, and Joseph 2009). The fairness/cheating foundation is based on concerns about meritocracy-and, to a lesser extent, equality-and generates the idea of justice (Haidt, Graham, and Joseph 2009;Graham and Haidt 2012). The loyalty/betrayal foundation is closely connected to commitment to and self-sacrifice for the sake of a group. ...
... Walter and Lipsitz (2021) suggests that those who hold individualizing foundations tend to have a stronger emotional response to uncivil discussion than those who hold binding foundations. The new liberty/oppression foundation is based on the resentment one feels towards domination, bullying, and oppression (Graham and Haidt 2012). ...
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This study tests whether the architecture of a social media platform can encourage conversations among users to be more civil. It was conducted in collaboration with Nextdoor, a networking platform for neighbors within a defined geographic area. The study involved: (1) prompting users to move popular posts from the neighborhood-wide feed to new groups dedicated to the topic and (2) an experiment that randomized the announcement of community guidelines to members who join those newly formed groups. We examined the impact of each intervention on the level of civility, moral values reflected in user comments, and user’s submitted reports of inappropriate content. In a large quantitative analysis of comments posted to Nextdoor, the results indicate that platform architecture can shape the civility of conversations. Comments within groups were more civil and less frequently reported to Nextdoor moderators than the comments on the neighborhood-wide posts. In addition, comments in groups where new members were shown guidelines were less likely to be reported to moderators and were expressed in a more morally virtuous tone than comments in groups where new members were not presented with guidelines. This research demonstrates the importance of considering the design, structure, and affordance of the online environment when online platforms seek to promote civility and other pro-social behaviors.
... In effect, many internalized moral norms concern the good and the rights of others, for example, do not kill, do not rob, do not inflict useless pain. Others, however, though they, too, may be internalized, do not concern relationships with others [see Moral Foundation Theory 5 , Haidt and Joseph, 2004;5 The Moral Foundation Theory proposed initially by Haidt and Joseph (2004) and subsequently expanded by Graham and Haidt (2012) identifies five moral domains: care, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity. The value of these studies and subsequent theorizations lies in their having opened up the study of moral psychology to dimensions that the influence of Anglo-Saxon liberal culture had caused to be ignored or excluded. ...
... Moral psychology does not concern only the horizontal dimension, referred to others, but also the vertical dimension, referred to supra-individual values. Graham and Haidt, 2012]. Some religious norms 6 , for example, such as the first three of the ten commandments, regulate explicitly and exclusively the relationship with the divinity and not relationships with other people: 1. ...
... Our distinction brings to mind: (1) the distinction between consequentialist morality and deontological morality , but for us the difference lies in the goals involved and not in how the information is elaborated; (2) the psychologicalevolutionary difference between the morality of justice (see Kohlberg, 1981) and the morality of care (see Gilligan, 1993), but in our view the two are not incompatible; (3) the psychosocial distinction between the different moral domains of Moral Foundation Theory (Haidt and Joseph, 2004;Graham and Haidt, 2012), but for us the difference is not based on interpersonal and social functions but on goals and beliefs. ...
... Participants should be more reluctant to share fake news when their reputation is at stake than when it isn't. To measure participants' reluctance to share fake news we asked them how much they would have to be paid to share various fake news stories (for a similar method see: Graham et al., 2009;Graham & Haidt, 2012). These considerations lead to the following hypotheses: ...
Thesis
Americans are more worried about misinformation than about sexism, racism, terrorism, and climate change. Fears over misinformation on social media are overblown. Misinformation represents a minute proportion of the news that people consume online (~ 1%), and a small minority of people account for most of the misinformation consumed and shared online. People, on average, are good at detecting fake news and identifying reliable sources of information. People do not believe everything they see and read on the internet. Instead, they are active consumers of information who domesticate technologies in unexcepted ways. It’s very unlikely that social media exacerbates the misinformation problem, that fake news contributes to important political events or that falsehoods spread faster than the truth. Yet, some fake news stories do go viral, and understanding why, despite their inaccuracy, they go viral is important. In a series of experiments, we identified a factor that, alongside accuracy, drives the sharing of true and fake news: the ‘interestingness-if-true’ of a piece of news, e.g. if alcohol was a cure against COVID-19, the pandemic would end in an unprecedented international booze-up. In three experiments (N = 904), participants were more willing to share news they found more interesting-if-true, as well as news they deemed more accurate. They rated fake news less accurate but more interesting-if-true than true news. People may not share news of questionable accuracy by mistake, but instead because the news has qualities that compensate for its potential inaccuracy, such as being interesting-if-true. Despite these qualities, why are most people are reluctant to share fake news? To benefit from communication, receivers should trust less people sharing fake news. And the costs of sharing fake news should be higher than the reputational benefits of sharing true news. Otherwise we would end up trusting people misleading us half of the time. Four experiments (N = 3,656) support this hypothesis: sharing fake news hurts one’s reputation in a way that is difficult to fix, even for politically congruent fake news. Most participants asked to be paid to share fake news (even when politically congruent), and asked for more when their reputation was at stake. During the second part of my PhD, I tested solutions to inform people efficiently. I found that discussing in small groups the scientific evidence on Genetically Modified (GM) food safety and the usefulness of vaccines changed people’s minds in the direction of the scientific consensus. To scale up the power of discussion, we created a chatbot that emulated the most important traits of discussion. We found that rebutting the most common counterarguments against GMOs with a chatbot led to more positive attitudes towards GMOs than a non-persuasive control text and a paragraph highlighting the scientific consensus. However, the dialogical structure of the chatbot seemed to have mattered more than its interactivity. During the pandemic, we deployed a chatbot to inform the French population about COVID- 19 vaccines. Interacting a few minutes with this chatbot, which answered the most common questions about COVID-19 vaccines, increased people’s intention to get vaccinated and had a positive impact on their attitudes towards the vaccines. In the end, people are not stupid. When provided with good arguments, they change their mind in the direction of good arguments. Most people avoid sharing misinformation because they care about their reputation. We do not live in a post-truth society in which people disregard the truth. Overall, we should probably be more concerned about the large portion of people who do not trust reliable sources and are uninformed because they do not follow the news, rather than the minority of people who trust unreliable sources and are misinformed.
... Participants should be more reluctant to share fake news when their reputation is at stake than when it isn't. To measure participants' reluctance to share fake news we asked them how much they would have to be paid to share various fake news stories (for a similar method see: Graham and Haidt, 2012;Graham et al., 2009). These considerations lead to the following hypotheses: H 3 : Sharing fake news should be costly: the majority of people should ask to be paid a non-null amount of money to share a fake news story on their own social media account. ...
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In spite of the attractiveness of fake news stories, most people are reluctant to share them. Why? Four pre-registered experiments (N = 3,656) suggest that sharing fake news hurt one's reputation in a way that is difficult to fix, even for politically congruent fake news. The decrease in trust a source (media outlet or individual) suffers when sharing one fake news story against a background of real news is larger than the increase in trust a source enjoys when sharing one real news story against a background of fake news. A comparison with real-world media outlets showed that only sources sharing no fake news at all had similar trust ratings to mainstream media. Finally, we found that the majority of people declare they would have to be paid to share fake news, even when the news is politically congruent, and more so when their reputation is at stake.
... Some researchers have also suggested that the diversity of eschatological beliefs (that is, those relating to death and the fate of the soul) among religious groups may be causally related to forms and levels of religious intergroup violence 7,8 . There is experimental 9,10 and qualitative 11,12 evidence that the content of particular beliefs could influence levels of outgroup hostility and motivate violent acts. The promise of divine reward or the threat of divine punishment in the afterlife can alter the incentives of religiously charged behaviours 13,14 . ...
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Beliefs about the fate of humanity and the soul after death may structure behaviours of religious groups. Here we test theories from religious studies: that belief in an imminent apocalypse co-evolved with and facilitated revolutionary violence, whereas belief in reincarnation caused people to acquiesce to existing social orders and withdraw from political activism. We test these hypotheses by building a cultural phylogeny of historical Islamic sects and schools from the seventh to twentieth centuries and use phylogenetic comparative methods to show that these two types of belief display distinct relationships with intergroup violence. There is substantial evidence that apocalyptic beliefs co-evolved with revolutionary violence, whereas reincarnation beliefs were evolutionarily stable in peaceful groups. In both cases, violence precedes the emergence of beliefs, which suggests that conditions that generate revolutionary violence changed beliefs rather than beliefs generating violence. We also found that apocalyptic beliefs are associated with accelerated group extinction, although causal relationships cannot be determined. | Full text on: https://rdcu.be/cc2E2
... These moral concerns are called the "individualizing foundations" and are characterized as follows: (1) care or distaste for the pain of others and (2) fairness or sensitivity to issues related to equality, justice, and rights. The three other moral foundations have a more controversial role and they have been related to idealistic violence and inter-group conflicts (Haidt and Graham, 2007;Graham and Haidt, 2012;Koleva et al., 2012). These are called the binding foundations and they focus on preserving the group as a whole by ties of loyalty, hierarchy, and common beliefs. ...
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The objective of this study is to explore and to verify the utility of the five moral foundations (care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and purity) to differentiate between two understudied groups, namely, young offenders who use violence against their parents or dating partners, as well as to predict the extent to which these young people justify violence and perceive themselves as aggressive. Although both types of violence imply, by definition, harming someone (low care) and adopting a position of authority (high authority), we hypothesize a very different role for at least these two moral foundations. Our results support this idea and show a much lower regard for the five moral foundations, including care and authority, in the child-to-parent violence group (CPV; N = 65) than in the dating violence group (DV; N = 69). Additionally, the authority foundation was able to increase the effectiveness of correctly classifying the participants in one group or the other by 29%. Finally, care and authority, along with fairness, served to predict justification of violence and self-perceived aggressiveness. The moral foundations approach provides preliminary evidence to better understand two specific types of youth violence and extract preventive educational and treatment strategies.
... Moral purity: three items on moral purity from The Omission as a Compromise on Moral Foundations scale (OC-MF; Di Battista et al. 2020b) measured participants' willingness to neglect their own moral norms in exchange for money, following studies on moral taboo trade-offs (Graham et al. 2009;Graham and Haidt 2012;Tetlock et al. 2000). The response scale measured omissions rather than active behavior, asking participants to state how much money they need to be paid to omit to do a certain behavior (e.g., "To be clean and fresh"), from 1 = I would never agree to do it for money, to 7 = I would agree to do it even for less than 10 Euros. ...
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The availability of vaccines does not mean that people will be willing to get vaccinated. For example, different conspiracy beliefs on the adverse effects of vaccines may lead people to avoid collective health measures. This paper explores the role played by antecedents of COVID-related conspiracy beliefs, such as the role of political ideology and the endorsement of moral purity values, and the consequences of COVID-related conspiracy beliefs in terms of the acceptance of a COVID vaccine (when available) via structural equation modelling (SEM). A sample of 590 Italian participants filled in a questionnaire implemented using the Qualtrics.com platform, during the first Italian lockdown in April–May 2020. Results showed that endorsing purity values predicted stronger negative attitude towards COVID-vaccines. Moreover, conspiracy beliefs negatively predicted general attitudes toward vaccines. Faith in science negatively predicted general and COVID-related conspiracy beliefs, with those believing more in science also less endorsing general and COVID-related conspiracy beliefs. The attitudes towards the vaccines mediated the relationship between COVID-related conspiracy beliefs and attitudes towards COVID vaccine.
... To answer this question, we propose that the moralization of a perceived threat is a central factor in the process underlying acts of hate, such as hate speech and hate group activity-behaviors we refer to collectively as extreme behavioral expressions of prejudice (EBEPs). This view is grounded in a large body of research linking violence and extreme behavior to moral values, perceptions of moral violations, and feelings of moral obligation [32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40][41][42] . Drawing on this work, we suggest EBEPs are often motivated by the belief that an outgroup has done something morally wrong and, further, that a person's risk of perceiving such moral violations is partially dependent on their own moral values-a hypothesis we refer to as the moralized threat hypothesis. ...
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Understanding motivations underlying acts of hatred are essential for developing strategies to prevent such extreme behavioral expressions of prejudice (EBEPs) against marginalized groups. In this work, we investigate the motivations underlying EBEPs as a function of moral values. Specifically, we propose EBEPs may often be best understood as morally motivated behaviors grounded in people’s moral values and perceptions of moral violations. As evidence, we report five studies that integrate spatial modeling and experimental methods to investigate the relationship between moral values and EBEPs. Our results, from these U.S. based studies, suggest that moral values oriented around group preservation are predictive of the county-level prevalence of hate groups and associated with the belief that extreme behavioral expressions of prejudice against marginalized groups are justified. Additional analyses suggest that the association between group-based moral values and EBEPs against outgroups can be partly explained by the belief that these groups have done something morally wrong.
... Cultures rely on stories to socialize their children, and narrative thinking has been called one of two basic forms of human cognition. Successful stories-the ones that get transmitted-are those that fit well with the human mind by eliciting strong emotions" [69]. This realization impacts deeply on the way we perceive (or want to be perceived) ourselves, and others, physically, morally, and emotionally. ...
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In recent years, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk) has become a pivotal source for participant recruitment in many social-science fields. In the last several years, however, concerns about data quality have arisen. In response, CloudResearch developed an intensive pre-screening procedure to vet the full participant pool available on MTurk and exclude those providing low-quality data. To assess its efficacy, we compared three MTurk samples that completed identical measures: Sample 1 was collected prior to the pre-screening’s implementation. Sample 2 was collected shortly following its implementation, and Sample 3 was collected nearly a full-year after its implementation. Results indicated that the reliability and validity of scales improved with the implementation of this prescreening procedure, and that this was especially apparent with more recent versions. Thus, this prescreening procedure appears to be a valuable tool to help ensure the collection of high-quality data on MTurk.
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We investigate the relationship of morality and political orientation by focusing on the influential results showing that liberals and conservatives rely on different moral foundations. We conducted a comprehensive literature search from major databases and other sources for primary studies that used the Moral Foundations Questionnaire and a typical measure of political orientation, a political self-placement item. We used a predefined process for independent extraction of effect sizes by two authors and ran both study-level and individual-level analyses. With 89 samples, 605 effect sizes, and 33,804 independent participants, in addition to 192,870 participants from the widely used YourMorals.org website, the basic differences about conservatives and liberals are supported. Yet, heterogeneity is moderate, and the results may be less generalizable across samples and political cultures than previously thought. The effect sizes obtained from the YourMorals.org data appear inflated compared with independent samples, which is partly related to political interest and may be because of self-selection. The association of moral foundations to political orientation varies culturally (between regions and countries) and subculturally (between White and Black respondents and in response to political interest). The associations also differ depending on the choice of the social or economic dimension and its labeling, supporting both the bidimensional model of political orientation and the findings that the dimensions are often strongly correlated. Our findings have implications for interpreting published studies, as well as designing new ones where the political aspect of morality is relevant. The results are primarily limited by the validity of the measures and the homogeneity of the included studies in terms of sample origins. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved).
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Taking advantage of 3 million English-language posts by Facebook public pages, this study answers the following questions: How did the amount of COVID-19 vaccine-related messages evolve? How did the moral expressions in the messages differ among sources? How did both the sources and the five moral foundations in posts influence the number of likes to posts, after controlling for the public page's features (e.g., age, followers)? Our research findings suggest that moral expression is prevalent in the COVID-19 vaccination posts, surpassing nonmoral content. Media sources, despite the high volume of posts, on average elicited fewer likes than all other sources. Although care and fairness were the two most used moral foundations, they were negatively related to likes. In contrast, the least used two moral values of authority and sanctity were positively related to likes. We conclude with a discussion of theoretical contributions and a recommendation of possible interventions.
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We used a distributed-language model to examine the moral language employed by U.S. political elites. In Study 1, we analyzed 687,360 Twitter messages (tweets) posted by accounts belonging to Democratic and Republican members of Congress from 2016 to 2018. In Study 2, we analyzed 2,630,688 speeches given on the floor of the House and Senate from 1981 to 2017. We found that partisan differences in moral-language use shifted over time as the parties gained or lost political power. Overall, lower political power was associated with greater use of moral language for both Democrats and Republicans. On Twitter, Democrats used more moral language in the period after Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election. In Congressional transcripts, both Democrats and Republicans used more of most kinds of moral language when they were in the minority.
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Objective . Influenza vaccination uptake among health care workers (HCWs) protects patients and staff. Still, many health institutions’ coverage rates are unsatisfactory. We aimed to test the effect of communicating moral appeals in increasing vaccination uptake in a real life setting. Method . In three field experiments among HCWs, a moral appeal highlighting morally relevant consequences of influenza vaccination was manipulated. The outcome variables were vaccination intention right after exposure to the moral appeal (Study 1; N = 569 US and UK HCWs from various institutions) and vaccination uptake in subsequent weeks for those respondents who consented in sharing this data during the survey (Studies 2 and 3, respectively N = 121 and N = 770 Dutch hospital employees). Results . Studies 1 and 3 showed that moral appeal enhanced vaccination intention and uptake (vaccination uptake increased by 11%), due to increased awareness that vaccination is a moral decision. In Study 2, moral appeal had no effect, probably because people with more outspoken vaccination attitudes had responded to the call to fill in the survey. Moreover, moral appeal increased support for an influenza vaccination mandate. Furthermore, the results suggest that moral appeal was especially effective among HCWs with no history of influenza vaccination. Conclusion . These results indicate that moral appeal can be a useful tool for increasing both vaccination uptake and mandate support within health care institutions.
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Political conspiracist communities emerge and bind around hard-to-falsify narratives about political opponents or elites convening to secretly exploit the public in contexts of perceived political conflict. While the narratives appear descriptive, we propose that their content as well as the cognitive systems regulating their endorsement and dissemination may have co-evolved, at least in part, to reach coalitional goals: To drive allies’ attention to the social threat to increase their commitment and coordination for collective action, and to signal devotion to gain within-group status. Those evolutionary social functions may be best fulfilled if individuals endorse the conspiratorial narrative sincerely.
Chapter
I begin by discussing the social context of Proposition 201 (2008)—as well as background on the measure and the summary of the proposition I provided to respondents as an interview prompt. Next, I discuss the quasi-experimental design and quasi-independent variables of economic position, partisan affiliation, and DDEP position. I then analyze legitimations that were distinct to a given comparison group of quasi-independent variables. The analysis for each section has two components: First, I identify the distinct legitimations that emerged for each comparison group—thus empirically addressing the book’s first research question. Second, I provide a qualitative investigation that discusses the discourse that each rationale mobilized—thus empirically addressing the book’s second research question.
Chapter
In this chapter I discuss my analytical approach—the purpose of which is to build theory. In order to build theory, I start with a core set of theories and use them to identify anomalies in the data. I then use these anomalies to extend my core theories. I begin by discussing the Extended Case Method (e.g., Burawoy 2009) as my general analytical framework. I then explain my adaptation of this approach to analyze legitimations in semi-structured interviews. I do so by using what I call “Rationales” (Vila-Henninger 2019a)—which applies the Extended Case Method in a way that is similar to abduction (e.g., Timmermans and Tavory 2012). Next, I discuss the core theories I used to identify anomalous rationales. Subsequently, I outline the supplemental theoretical frameworks these core theories led me to employ. I used this approach in order to address my second research question.
Chapter
To begin this theory chapter, I discuss political legitimacy and legitimation—which provide a theoretical foundation for my analysis of both of the book’s research questions. Next, I outline the theoretical framework for each of my research questions. In particular, for the first question, I provide background on legitimation. For the second question, I provide background on the discourses upon which legitimations draw. I then discuss the types of discourses I investigate in this book: political values, normative conceptions of self-interest, and economic fairness. In particular, I discuss how economic fairness is understood in the moral economy literature, as well as in the neoliberalism literature. Next, I provide a brief overview of the relevant literature from political science and economics on direct democracy. I conclude by discussing the debate about direct versus representative democracy.
Chapter
I begin by discussing the social context of Proposition 202 (2008)—as well as background on the measure and the summary of the proposition that I provided to respondents as an interview prompt. Next, I discuss the quasi-experimental design and quasi-independent variables of economic position, partisan affiliation, and DDEP position. I then analyze legitimations that were distinct to a given comparison group of quasi-independent variables. The analysis for each section has two components: First, I identify the distinct legitimations that emerged for each comparison group—thus empirically addressing the book’s first research question. Second, I provide a qualitative investigation that discusses the discourse that each rationale mobilized—thus empirically addressing the book’s second research question.
Chapter
I begin by discussing the social context of Proposition 204 (2012)—as well as background on the measure and the summary of the proposition that I provided to respondents as an interview prompt. Next, I discuss the quasi-experimental design and quasi-independent variables of economic position, partisan affiliation, and DDEP position. I then analyze legitimations that were distinct to a given comparison group of quasi-independent variables. The analysis for each section has two components: First, I identify the distinct legitimations that emerged for each comparison group—thus empirically addressing the book’s first research question. Second, I provide a qualitative investigation that discusses the discourse that each rationale mobilized—thus empirically addressing the book’s second research question.
Article
The time-efficient assessment of moral values using systematically validated measures is a high priority in moral psychology research. However, few such options exist for researchers working with Moral Foundations Theory, one of the most popular theories in moral psychology. Across two samples totaling 1336 participants (756 Australian undergraduates and 580 American Mechanical Turk workers), we used a genetic algorithm-based (GA) approach to construct and validate abbreviated versions of the Moral Foundations Vignettes (MFV), a 90-item scale comprising vignettes of concrete violations of each of the six moral foundations. We constructed 36- and 18-item versions of the MFV, demonstrating close correspondence with the complete MFV, and adequate reliability, predictive validity, and factor-analytic goodness of fit for both abbreviated versions. Overall, the abbreviated scales achieve substantially reduced length with minimal loss of information, providing a useful resource for moral psychology researchers.
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Both robots and humans can behave in ways that engender positive and negative evaluations of their behaviors and associated responsibility. However, extant scholarship on the link between agent evaluations and valenced behavior has generally treated moral behavior as a monolithic phenomenon and largely focused on moral deviations. In contrast, contemporary moral psychology increasingly considers moral judgments to unfold in relation to a number of moral foundations (care, fairness, authority, loyalty, purity, liberty) subject to both upholding and deviation. The present investigation seeks to discover whether social judgments of humans and robots emerge differently as a function of moral foundation-specific behaviors. This work is conducted in two studies: (1) an online survey in which agents deliver observed/mediated responses to moral dilemmas and (2) a smaller laboratory-based replication with agents delivering interactive/live responses. In each study, participants evaluate the goodness of and blame for six foundation-specific behaviors, and evaluate the agent for perceived mind, morality, and trust. Across these studies, results suggest that (a) moral judgments of behavior may be agent-agnostic, (b) all moral foundations may contribute to social evaluations of agents, and (c) physical presence and agent class contribute to the assignment of responsibility for behaviors. Findings are interpreted to suggest that bad behaviors denote bad actors, broadly, but machines bear a greater burden to behave morally, regardless of their credit- or blame-worthiness in a situation.
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How do everyday people-or actors who do not occupy positions of political authority-legitimate political systems? Responding to this question, I use work from sociology, political science, and cognitive science to build a theory of "Popular Political Legitimation" (PPL)-defined as everyday people's legitimation of a political system. To answer how PPL happens, we must answer two sub-questions that address legitimacy as a normative phenomenon: 1) What are the processes of socialization through which individuals learn the norms, widely held beliefs, and values that legitimate a political system? 2) How do individuals subsequently use these norms, widely held beliefs, and/or values in their own legitimations of a political system? Thus, we see that a model of socialization is central to understanding how PPL happens. I proceed in four steps. First, I review the literature on political legitimation. Next, I review the literature on political socialization. Third, to address gaps in the two aforementioned literatures concerning a model of socialization that explains legitimation, I turn to neuroscience (for reviews see Greene, 2017; Cushman, 2020) and psychology to review models of socialization and rationalization. Finally, I synthesize these literatures to develop a theory of political socialization and how it generates PPL. J Theory Soc Behav. 2020;1-26. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/jtsb
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During the campaign period of the 2018 Presidential Election in Turkey, there was a burst in the number of tweets posted by both pro‐and anti‐government Twitter users. Both sides started their own hashtags and reached a total of two million tweets in only one day. We analyzed the content of 186,554 tweets from two opposing ideological camps to test the predictions of Moral Foundations Theory, which suggests that liberals and conservatives endorse different moral foundations. We scored each side’s level of emphasis on different moral foundations using the Turkish Moral Foundations Dictionary and compared the two groups. Results revealed that the supporters of the conservative government in Turkey were more likely to endorse care, loyalty, and authority foundations of morality, as compared to those who oppose the conservative government. Being one of the first studies investigating the moral content of political tweets in a non‐WEIRD context, the current study yields important findings regarding the external validity of the Moral Foundations Theory’s predictions in different cultures.
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What mitigates prejudice against migrants in situations of uncertainty? Addressing this question, we explored how individuals with greater COVID-19 concern perceive migrants as a greater threat and show prejudice against them, indirectly through the mechanism of need for cognitive closure and binding moral foundations. This study was conducted in two European countries: Malta and Italy. Six hundred and seventy-six individuals participated in this quantitative study (Malta: N = 204; Italy N = 472). Results from this study showed that the need for cognitive closure and binding moral foundations mediate the relationship between COVID-19 concern and prejudice against migrants in both countries. When testing the three binding moral foundations (loyalty, authority, and purity), the authority foundation seems to be the most consistent predictor. The implications of the findings contribute to theories about how situational uncertainty caused by COVID-19, together with the need for epistemic certainty and binding morality, contribute to increased prejudiced attitudes against migrants.
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Morality, without a shadow of doubt, is one of the most controversial topics in the history of social sciences. Although, at its core, it is conceptualized as a set of principles which distinguish right from wrong, through ebb and flow, it has been molded in various frameworks which attempted to account for the nature and essence of it. Yet, no definition has been proposed which could stand up to criticism. Looking over the tumultuous history of morality, the present paper makes an attempt to bring to the fore the major stances on morality within philosophy and social sciences. Adopting a critical standpoint, the writers defy the attempts to provide a comprehensive definition of the concept. In the meantime, a path worth taking is proposed, i.e., a critical investigation of the effects of making actors cognizant of the results of their moral actions on their future conceptualization of morality as well as undertaking of moral actions.
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Objective: Moral convictions have been shown to impact learning about science topics including evolution and COVID-19. However, how moral convictions influence learning about climate change – another science topic perceived as controversial – has not been studied in depth. The goal of our research was to investigate the predictive relationship between moral convictions, engagement, plausibility, emotions, and knowledge when learning about climate change. Method: Undergraduate pre-service teacher students (N = 348) rated their moral convictions about climate change and read a refutation text on the topic. Results: The majority of students indicated that acting to mitigate climate change was a moral imperative (n = 268) compared with those without a position (n = 80). Results indicate that whether an individual perceives acting on climate change as morally imperative is a powerful precursor to their learning experience. Moreover, those who developed a stronger moral conviction indicated deeper learning, engagement, and stronger negative emotions. Finally, stronger moral convictions, emotions, knowledge, and engagement all predicted seeing the scientific model of climate change as more plausible. Conclusion: Taken together, our results have implications for how moral convictions may influence how educators should engage students and the general public about the topic of climate change.
Preprint
Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ) and Moral Foundations Sacredness Scale (MFSS) have been proposed to advance conceptualizations of morality. This study assesses the factor structure of the Dutch translations. The five-factor model posited by Moral Foundations Theory is compared against alternative models of morality. Correlational analyses are performed among and between the best fitting models. A multi-group confirmatory factor analysis of the optimal model is tested across gender. Data are taken from an online survey in a students’ sample (N=1496). Results suggest that the Dutch translation of the MFQ (short version) does not converge on the proposed five-factor model. Conversely, MFSS subscales show good model fit, but intercorrelations among the subscales are high. Weak invariance is retained for MFSS but not for MFQ. Both self-reports are complementary measures to conceptualize five moral intuitions. More cross-national and cross-cultural validation studies are needed to develop sound measurement tools. To achieve good measurement, researchers should use the MFQ long version.
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The notion of tolerance is widely embraced across many settings and is generally considered critical for the peaceful functioning of plural societies, and within organizations, institutions, and many professions. However, the concept of tolerance has various meanings and can be discursively used in different ways and for different purposes. The various understandings and their usage can have different implications for normative views and real‐world decision making. This paper focuses on two main understandings of tolerance and how these are flexibly used in a debate about the case in which a social work student was excluded from further study by an university committee. This case serves as a particular illumination of the broader societal context of ‘cultural wars’ and ‘identity politics’ in which the notion of tolerance features prominently. It is examined how those who did and did not support the university decision deployed in different ways the notion of tolerance. It is concluded that tolerance has different cultural meanings which can be used for various ends in debates about contentious issues and for justifying or criticizing impactful decisions.
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The same person can make different moral judgments about the same activity in their professional role and in their personal life. For example, people may follow a different moral code when making purchases at work compared with in their private lives. This potential difference has largely remained unexamined. This study explores differences in felt moral responsibility in workplace and private purchasing settings, regarding the impacts of purchasing decisions on supply chain workers, and explores the influence of personal values and ethical work climate. The case of a high-profile university in the United Kingdom is studied, which has made strong commitments to socially responsible public procurement. Based on a survey of 318 university staff who make purchases at work, stronger moral values related to harm/care are associated with higher felt responsibility in personal purchasing than in workplace purchasing, whereas less strong harm/care values are associated with higher felt responsibility in workplace purchasing than personal purchasing. In relation to ethical work climate, detailed awareness of organizational ethical procurement commitments is found to be associated with higher felt responsibility in workplace purchasing and is also found to increase the discrepancy between workplace and personal felt responsibility, increasing felt responsibility in the workplace but not in personal purchasing. These findings demonstrate the influence of individual and contextual factors on felt responsibility across different roles. Recommendations are made for further empirical research on felt responsibility across roles and additional internal communication on social responsibility for devolved public procurement contexts.
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This study aimed to verify the influence of the constructs market orientation, brand orientation, spiritual benefits, social benefits, and participation in the religious institution, on loyalty of the faithful to their religious institutions, which were our field of study. Based on the literature, we proposed a structural model based on the preceding constructs. Afterwards, we developed our quantitative research. Data collection took place through the dissemination of a questionnaire prepared and distributed by an online platform, where we obtained a sample of 284 respondents. The results indicated that the constructs market orientation, brand orientation, spiritual benefits, and participation in the religious institution, tend to be related to the faithful’s loyalty to religious institutions. However, there was no significant relationship of the social benefits construct on loyalty when this relationship was tested with the insertion of control variables. The tested model contributes to the management of religious institutions and also contributes to religious marketing, as it reveals the behavior of the faithful regarding religious services. In practice, the results of this research can help religious institutions devise strategies that aim to maintain and expand their supporters/faithful, in an attempt to guarantee more loyalty.
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Guilt emerges as the emotional result of a conflict between our behavior and internalized morality. Since morality is best conceptualized as a multidimensional construct, guilt results in different phenomena depending on the moral values internalized by the “guilty”. Indeed, mounting evidence supports the distinction between guilt feelings emerging from deontological morality and guilt feelings emerging from altruistic morality. Most measures fail to consider moral orientation when assessing guilt. Our aim was to develop a reliable and valid tool, able to independently measure different types of guilt feelings. We presented the 17-items Moral Orientation Guilt Scale (MOGS) to a large subclinical sample, along with other questionnaires. Analyses included measures of classical test theory and innovative techniques of network analysis. This cross-validation approach pointed at four factors: “Moral Norm Violation”, “Moral Dirtiness”, “Empathy” and “Harm”. Results suggested MOGS good reliability and a strong construct and convergent validity. Importantly, “Moral Norm Violation” and “Moral Dirtiness” scores were positively correlated with disgust sensitivity, supporting the link between disgust and deontological guilt. Differently, “Harm” scores were negatively correlated with disgust sensitivity scores, in line with the notion that altruism and disgust possibly evolved as part of contrasting motivational systems.
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Online radicalization is among the most vexing challenges the world faces today. Here, we demonstrate that homogeneity in moral concerns results in increased levels of radical intentions. In Study 1, we find that in Gab—a right-wing extremist network—the degree of moral convergence within a cluster predicts the number of hate-speech messages members post. In Study 2, we replicate this observation in another extremist network, Incels. In Studies 3 to 5 ( N = 1,431), we demonstrate that experimentally leading people to believe that others in their hypothetical or real group share their moral views increases their radical intentions as well as willingness to fight and die for the group. Our findings highlight the role of moral convergence in radicalization, emphasizing the need for diversity of moral worldviews within social networks.
Chapter
The question of causality in culture is the central theme of this book. Therefore, this book asks: How does culture affect action? As discussed in the introduction, this has two primary elements: (1) Models of Action and (2) Socialization. This book then develops a dual-process model that accounts for socialization in such a way that can be linked to action via moral judgment. Thus, in this chapter, I provide a background of the literature in the sociology of culture and related areas on (1) Models of Action and (2) Socialization. This will then set the stage for Chap. 4, which will critique extant Models of Action and Socialization using cognitive science.
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How do people come to consider a morally unacceptable action, such as “a passenger in an airplane does not want to sit next to a Muslim passenger and so he tells the stewardess the passenger must be moved to another seat”, to be less unacceptable? We propose they tend to imagine counterfactual alternatives about how things could have been different that transform the unacceptable action to be less unacceptable. Five experiments identify the cognitive processes underlying this imaginative moral shift: an action is judged less unacceptable when people imagine circumstances in which it would have been moral. The effect occurs for immediate counterfactuals and reflective ones, but is greater when participants create an immediate counterfactual first, and diminished when they create a reflective one first. The effect also occurs for unreasonable actions. We discuss the implications for alternative theories of the mental representations and cognitive processes underlying moral judgments.
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The binding foundations (loyalty, authority, and purity) constitute adaptive mechanisms for preserving groups’ interests. However, they have also been related to intergroup prejudice and violence. We show that the known relationship between the binding foundations and sexist attitudes is mediated by moral absolutism, a variable that reflects the degree to which people believe that their own definition of morality is objectively correct. Two different samples are used: a conventional one (Study 1, N = 321), and a forensic one at the beginning ( T1) and at the end ( T2) of court-mandated psychological therapy (Study 2, N = 354; N = 327).
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This chapter elaborates on Young’s Neo-Piagetian/Neo-Eriksonian 25-step, lifespan developmental model. Specifically, the chapter describes the concept of neo-stage in-depth, which integrates concepts such as microdevelopment/macrodevelopment coordination. This concept allows for a modified, workable (sub)stage developmental model and an associated stage transition concept. Further, the chapter relates the developmental model to a theory of mind and responsibility, which might develop according to the model’s steps. As for expanding the Neo-Eriksonian portion of Young’s model, the chapter shows how each of the 25 steps of the model can describe differently patient problems in ways consistent with the characteristics of each of the steps. Further, in each person, developmental steps can be yoked together for the context at hand to help deal with cognitive or socio-affective issues that might arise.
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The "drunk utilitarian" phenomenon suggests that people are more likely to accept harm for the greater good when they are under the influence of alcohol. This phenomenon conflicts with the ideas that (1) acceptance of pro-sacrificial harm requires inhibitory control of automatic emotional responses to the idea of causing harm and (2) alcohol impairs inhibitory control. The current preregistered experiment aimed to provide deeper insights into the effects of alcohol on moral judgments by using a formal modeling approach to disentangle three factors in moral dilemma judgments and by distinguishing between instrumental harm and impartial beneficence as two distinct dimensions of utilitarian psychology. Despite the use of a substantially larger sample and higher doses of alcohol compared to the ones in prior studies, alcohol had no significant effect on moral judgments. The results pose a challenge to the idea that alcohol increases utilitarianism in moral judgments.
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Violence against animals, derived from human domination over them, is limited by the moral judgment of perpetrators and by public opinion. The current study investigated whether the moral foundations of Care and Authority and the perception of animal mind are associated with instrumental violence against animals, as well as the function of perception of animal mind in the context of this phenomenon. To this end, 504 participants from Poland completed paper-based questionnaires that measured acceptance and participation in instrumental violence against animals, moral foundations, and perception of the experience dimension of animal mind. The results of structural equation modeling, performed using four smaller sub-models, suggest that Care and Authority are predictors of instrumental violence against animals, with Care being negatively predictive and Authority being positively predictive (either as the acceptance of or participation in such violence). Perception of the experience dimension of animal mind is negatively associated with instrumental violence and plays an indirect role in the relationship between morality and violence as a mutual mediator of Care and Authority. These findings suggest that perception of animal mind is a mechanism that is activated during the moral judgment of intention and behavior by changing the moral status of animals. Moreover, Care and Authority were significant as direct predictors of instrumental violence. Thus, the availability of these moral foundations in society is important for animal welfare during farm-animal husbandry, pet breeding, transport, training, and treatment. These findings broaden our knowledge about the intuitive, rather than only the deliberative, paths responsible for violence against animals.
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During the coronavirus pandemic, this study aimed to investigate the impact of conspiracy beliefs on Finnish attitudes toward vaccinations in general and COVID-19 vaccinations in particular. This study was a conceptual replication in Finland of a study by Pivetti et al. (2021) . Some 529 Finnish participants responded to a self-report questionnaire during the partial lockdown in Finland in spring 2020. The hypothesized relationships between variables of interest were integrated in a serial multiple mediation model via structural equation modelling. Results showed that endorsing general conspiracy beliefs directly predicted (1) general attitudes toward vaccines and (2) COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs, and indirectly predicted (3) attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines via the serial mediation of COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs and general attitudes toward vaccines. As for the antecedents of beliefs in conspiracy theories, political orientation and moral purity predicted beliefs in COVID-19 conspiracy theories. Trust in science was inversely related to general conspiracy beliefs. As for the consequences of conspiracy beliefs, COVID-19 conspiracy beliefs directly predicted support for governmental restrictions (negatively) and the perception of informational contamination (positively).
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This study sought to explore the latent factor structure of early-adolescents’ (n = 822, M = 12.4 years old, SD = 0.96) moral intuitions under a moral foundations theory (MFT) paradigm. Results from a confirmatory factor analysis suggested a structure only partially consistent with adults, so an exploratory factor analysis was conducted and a novel yet interpretable factor structure emerged. In an attempt to reconcile these findings with other theories in moral development (e.g., social domain theory and moral judgment as categorization theory), the characteristics of items loaded on by novel factors were analyzed to find unifying themes. The findings offer important considerations for MFT researchers and possible starting points for more robust learning-based theories of moral intuition development.
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Scholars have argued that prosocial behavior produces positive emotions because it fulfills basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. These explanations have largely neglected morality, despite the fact that prosocial behaviors are widely considered to be moral. To determine whether seeing oneself as acting morally—moral self-appraisals—explained this effect, we conducted a preliminary measurement study followed by three online experiments that collectively include nearly 2000 respondents. A meta-analysis of our experimental results revealed that recalling or performing prosocial behavior has a small positive effect on positive emotion (β = 0.12, p < 0.001) that is partly attributable to the fact that prosocial acts encourage positive moral self-appraisals (β = 0.61, p = 0.004) and fulfill a psychological need for relatedness (β = 0.72, p = 0.015). Our results thus indicate that people feel good following prosocial behavior in part because it encourages them to view themselves as moral individuals.
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This research examined the association between materialism and self-interest-triggered moral flexibility, the tendency to change moral judgments based on self-interest. Individuals high on materialism reported a greater discrepancy in the moral judgments of their own and others’ behavior (Study 1), and showed a relatively more negative attitude towards fairness when being fair hindered rather than served their self-interests (Study 2). Studies 3 and 4 (both pre-registered) showed that when faced with moral conflict (equity vs. equality in Study 3, and ingroup favoritism vs. fairness in Study 4), materialism amplified the tendency to judge the moral values that served (vs. interfered with) one’s self-interest as more moral. Implications of these findings for the understanding of how materialists approach morality were discussed.
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This article examines the motivations of liberals and conservatives to boycott and buycott. Nine studies demonstrate that although both liberals and conservatives engage in consumer political actions, they do so for different reasons influenced by their unique moral concerns: Liberals engage in boycotts and buycotts that are associated with the protection of harm and fairness moral values (individualizing moral values), whereas conservatives engage in boycotts and buycotts that are associated with the protection of authority, loyalty, and purity moral values (binding moral values). In addition, the individualizing moral values lead to a generally more positive attitude toward boycotts, which explains why liberals are more likely to boycott and buycott. Liberals’ greater concern for the suffering of others and unfair treatment makes them more likely to engage in consumer political actions. Conservatives, in turn, engage in consumer political actions in relatively rarer cases in which their binding moral values are affected by corporate activity.
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A model is presented to account for the natural selection of what is termed reciprocally altruistic behavior. The model shows how selection can operate against the cheater (non-reciprocator) in the system. Three instances of altruistic behavior are discussed, the evolution of which the model can explain: (1) behavior involved in cleaning symbioses; (2) warning cries in birds; and (3) human reciprocal altruism. Regarding human reciprocal altruism, it is shown that the details of the psychological system that regulates this altruism can be explained by the model. Specifically, friendship, dislike, moralistic aggression, gratitude, sympathy, trust, suspicion, trustworthiness, aspects of guilt, and some forms of dishonesty and hypocrisy can be explained as important adaptations to regulate the altruistic system. Each individual human is seen as possessing altruistic and cheating tendencies, the expression of which is sensitive to developmental variables that were selected to set the tendencies at a balance ap...
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The moral domain is broader than the empathy and justice concerns assessed by existing measures of moral competence, and it is not just a subset of the values assessed by value inventories. To fill the need for reliable and theoretically grounded measurement of the full range of moral concerns, we developed the Moral Foundations Questionnaire on the basis of a theoretical model of 5 universally available (but variably developed) sets of moral intuitions: Harm/Care, Fairness/Reciprocity, Ingroup/Loyalty, Authority/Respect, and Purity/Sanctity. We present evidence for the internal and external validity of the scale and the model, and in doing so we present new findings about morality: (a) Comparative model fitting of confirmatory factor analyses provides empirical justification for a 5-factor structure of moral concerns; (b) convergent/discriminant validity evidence suggests that moral concerns predict personality features and social group attitudes not previously considered morally relevant; and (c) we establish pragmatic validity of the measure in providing new knowledge and research opportunities concerning demographic and cultural differences in moral intuitions. These analyses provide evidence for the usefulness of Moral Foundations Theory in simultaneously increasing the scope and sharpening the resolution of psychological views of morality.
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Humans are a striking anomaly in the natural world. While we are similar to other mammals in many ways, our behavior sets us apart. Our unparalleled ability to adapt has allowed us to occupy virtually every habitat on earth using an incredible variety of tools and subsistence techniques. Our societies are larger, more complex, and more cooperative than any other mammal's. In this stunning exploration of human adaptation, Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd argue that only a Darwinian theory of cultural evolution can explain these unique characteristics. Not by Genes Alone offers a radical interpretation of human evolution, arguing that our ecological dominance and our singular social systems stem from a psychology uniquely adapted to create complex culture. Richerson and Boyd illustrate here that culture is neither superorganic nor the handmaiden of the genes. Rather, it is essential to human adaptation, as much a part of human biology as bipedal locomotion. Drawing on work in the fields of anthropology, political science, sociology, and economics—and building their case with such fascinating examples as kayaks, corporations, clever knots, and yams that require twelve men to carry them—Richerson and Boyd convincingly demonstrate that culture and biology are inextricably linked, and they show us how to think about their interaction in a way that yields a richer understanding of human nature. In abandoning the nature-versus-nurture debate as fundamentally misconceived, Not by Genes Alone is a truly original and groundbreaking theory of the role of culture in evolution and a book to be reckoned with for generations to come. “I continue to be surprised by the number of educated people (many of them biologists) who think that offering explanations for human behavior in terms of culture somehow disproves the suggestion that human behavior can be explained in Darwinian evolutionary terms. Fortunately, we now have a book to which they may be directed for enlightenment . . . . It is a book full of good sense and the kinds of intellectual rigor and clarity of writing that we have come to expect from the Boyd/Richerson stable.”—Robin Dunbar, Nature “Not by Genes Alone is a valuable and very readable synthesis of a still embryonic but very important subject straddling the sciences and humanities.”—E. O. Wilson, Harvard University
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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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This research examines life-narrative interviews obtained from 128 highly religious and politically active adults to test differences between political conservatives and liberals on (a) implicit family metaphors (G. Lakoff, 2002) and (b) moral intuitions (J. Haidt & C. Joseph, 2004). Content analysis of 12 key scenes in life stories showed that conservatives, as predicted, tended to depict authority figures as strict enforcers of moral rules and to identify lessons in self-discipline. By contrast, liberals were more likely to identify lessons learned regarding empathy and openness, even though (contrary to prediction) they were no more likely than conservatives to describe nurturant authority figures. Analysis of extended discourse on the development of religious faith and personal morality showed that conservatives emphasized moral intuitions regarding respect for social hierarchy, allegiance to in-groups, and the purity or sanctity of the self, whereas liberals invested more significance in moral intuitions regarding harm and fairness. The results are discussed in terms of the recent upsurge of interest among psychologists in political ideology and the value of using life-narrative methods and concepts to explore how politically active adults attempt to construct meaningful lives.
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Five studies explored cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to proscribed forms of social cognition. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed that people responded to taboo trade-offs that monetized sacred values with moral outrage and cleansing. Experiments 3 and 4 revealed that racial egalitarians were least likely to use, and angriest at those who did use, race-tainted base rates and that egalitarians who inadvertently used such base rates tried to reaffirm their fair-mindedness. Experiment 5 revealed that Christian fundamentalists were most likely to reject heretical counterfactuals that applied everyday causal schemata to Biblical narratives and to engage in moral cleansing after merely contemplating such possibilities. Although the results fit the sacred-value-protection model (SVPM) better than rival formulations, the SVPM must draw on cross-cultural taxonomies of relational schemata to specify normative boundaries on thought.
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Religious concepts activate various functionally distinct mental systems, present also in non-religious contexts, and 'tweak' the usual inferences of these systems. They deal with detection and representation of animacy and agency, social exchange, moral intuitions, precaution against natural hazards and understanding of misfortune. Each of these activates distinct neural resources or families of networks. What makes notions of supernatural agency intuitively plausible? This article reviews evidence suggesting that it is the joint, coordinated activation of these diverse systems, a supposition that opens up the prospect of a cognitive neuroscience of religious beliefs.
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Religion is not an evolutionary adaptation per se, but a recurring cultural by-product of the complex evolutionary landscape that sets cognitive, emotional, and material conditions for ordinary human interactions. Religion exploits only ordinary cognitive processes to passionately display costly devotion to counterintuitive worlds governed by supernatural agents. The conceptual foundations of religion are intuitively given by task-specific panhuman cognitive domains, including folkmechanics, folkbiology, and folkpsychology. Core religious beliefs minimally violate ordinary notions about how the world is, with all of its inescapable problems, thus enabling people to imagine minimally impossible supernatural worlds that solve existential problems, including death and deception. Here the focus is on folkpsychology and agency. A key feature of the supernatural agent concepts common to all religions is the triggering of an "Innate Releasing Mechanism," or "agency detector," whose proper (naturally selected) domain encompasses animate objects relevant to hominid survival--such as predators, protectors, and prey--but which actually extends to moving dots on computer screens, voices in wind, and faces on clouds. Folkpsychology also crucially involves metarepresentation, which makes deception possible and threatens any social order. However, these same metacognitive capacities provide the hope and promise of open-ended solutions through representations of counterfactual supernatural worlds that cannot be logically or empirically verified or falsified. Because religious beliefs cannot be deductively or inductively validated, validation occurs only by ritually addressing the very emotions motivating religion. Cross-cultural experimental evidence encourages these claims.
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Preface PART 1: TWO NATURAL KINDS 1. Approaching the Literary 2. Two Modes of Thought 3. Possible Castles PART 2: LANGUAGE AND REALITY 4. The Transactional Self 5. The Inspiration of Vygotsky 6. Psychological Reality 7. Nelson Goodman's Worlds 8. Thought and Emotion PART 3: ACTING IN CONSTRUCTED WORLDS 9. The Language of Education 10. Developmental Theory as Culture Afterword Appendix: A Reader's Retelling of "Clay" by James Joyce Notes Credits Index
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This article explores how much memes like urban legends succeed on the basis of informational selection (i.e., truth or a moral lesson) and emotional selection (i.e., the ability to evoke emotions like anger, fear, or disgust). The article focuses on disgust because its elicitors have been precisely described. In Study 1, with controls for informational factors like truth, people were more willing to pass along stories that elicited stronger disgust. Study 2 randomly sampled legends and created versions that varied in disgust; people preferred to pass along versions that produced the highest level of disgust. Study 3 coded legends for specific story motifs that produce disgust (e.g., ingestion of a contaminated substance) and found that legends that contained more disgust motifs were distributed more widely on urban legend Web sites. The conclusion discusses implications of emotional selection for the social marketplace of ideas.
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Five studies explored cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to proscribed forms of social cognition. Experiments 1 and 2 revealed that people responded to taboo trade-offs that monetized sacred values with moral outrage and cleansing. Experiments 3 and 4 revealed that racial egalitarians were least likely to use, and angriest at those who did use, race-tainted base rates and that egalitarians who inadvertently used such base rates tried to reaffirm their fair-mindedness. Experiment 5 revealed that Christian fundamentalists were most likely to reject heretical counterfactuals that applied everyday causal schemata to Biblical narratives and to engage in moral cleansing after merely contemplating such possibilities. Although the results fit the sacred-value-protection model (SVPM) better than rival formulations, the SVPM must draw on cross-cultural taxonomies of relational schemata to specify normative boundaries on thought.
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In the current resurgence of interest in the biological basis of animal behavior and social organization, the ideas and questions pursued by Charles Darwin remain fresh and insightful. This is especially true of The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex, Darwin's second most important work. This edition is a facsimile reprint of the first printing of the first edition (1871), not previously available in paperback. The work is divided into two parts. Part One marshals behavioral and morphological evidence to argue that humans evolved from other animals. Darwin shoes that human mental and emotional capacities, far from making human beings unique, are evidence of an animal origin and evolutionary development. Part Two is an extended discussion of the differences between the sexes of many species and how they arose as a result of selection. Here Darwin lays the foundation for much contemporary research by arguing that many characteristics of animals have evolved not in response to the selective pressures exerted by their physical and biological environment, but rather to confer an advantage in sexual competition. These two themes are drawn together in two final chapters on the role of sexual selection in humans. In their Introduction, Professors Bonner and May discuss the place of The Descent in its own time and relation to current work in biology and other disciplines.
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The discovery of pollen clusters of different kinds of flowers in the grave of one of the Neanderthals. No. IV, at Shanidar cave, Iraq, furthers our acceptance of the Neanderthals in our line of evolution. It suggests that, although the body was archaic, the spirit was modern.
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Recent years have witnessed an upsurge of interest among theorists and researchers in autobiographical recollections, life stories, and narrative approaches to understanding human behavior and experience. An important development in this context is D. P. McAdams's life story model of identity (1985; see also records 1993-97296-000 and 1996-06098-001), which asserts that people living in modern societies provide their lives with unity and purpose by constructing internalized and evolving narratives of the self. The idea that identity is a life story resonates with a number of important themes in developmental, cognitive, personality, and cultural psychology. This article reviews and integrates recent theory and research on life stories as manifested in investigations of self-understanding, autobiographical memory, personality structure and change, and the complex relations between individual lives and cultural modernity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In this chapter, the authors present a social functional account of emotions that attempts to integrate the relevant insights of evolutionary and social constructivist theorists. The authors' account is summarized in 3 statements: (1) social living presents social animals with problems whose solutions are critical for individual survival; (2) emotions have been designed in the course of evolution to solve these problems; and (3) in humans, culture loosens the linkages between emotions and problems so that cultures find new ways of using emotions. In the first half of the chapter the authors synthesize the positions of diverse theorists in a taxonomy of problems of social living and then consider how evolution-based primordial emotions solve those problems by coordinating social interactions. In the second half of the chapter the authors discuss the specific processes according to which culture transforms primordial emotions and how culturally shaped elaborated emotions help solve the problems of social living. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Moral conviction forms the foundation for strong, morally vested attitudes and beliefs (i.e., “moral mandates”) that have high action potential because they are “oughts” and “shoulds.” Although moral mandates may sometimes lead people to engage in prosocial behaviors, they can also lead people to disregard procedural safeguards. This article briefly reviews research that indicates that people become very unconcerned with how moral mandates are achieved, so long as they are achieved. In short, we find that commitments to procedural safeguards that generally protect civil society become psychologically eroded when people are pursuing a morally mandated end. Understanding the “dark side” of moral conviction may provide some insight into the motivational underpinnings of engaging in extreme acts like terrorism, as well as people's willingness to forego civil liberties in their pursuit of those who do.
Article
Researchers in moral psychology and social justice have agreed that morality is about matters of harm, rights, and justice. On this definition of morality, conservative opposition to social justice programs appears to be immoral, and has been explained as a product of various non-moral processes such as system justification or social dominance orientation. In this article we argue that, from an anthropological perspective, the moral domain is usually much broader, encompassing many more aspects of social life and valuing institutions as much or more than individuals. We present theoretical and empirical reasons for believing that there are five psychological systems that provide the foundations for the world’s many moralities. The five foundations are psychological preparations for detecting and reacting emotionally to issues related to harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity. Political liberals have moral intuitions primarily based upon the first two foundations, and therefore misunderstand the moral motivations of political conservatives, who generally rely upon all five foundations.
Article
Protected values (PVs) are those that people think should not be traded off. Baron and Spranca (1997) proposed that such values result from rules concerning actions (as opposed to values for outcomes). This proposal implies that PVs should show a particularly large bias against harmful acts that undermine the value in question, as opposed to harmful omissions (omission bias). We found this correlation between PVs and omission bias in 3 experiments, using stimuli of the sort that we used before to demonstrate omission bias. In 2 experiments, we also found a weak tendency for PVs to be associated with lack of concern for the number of acts involved, which is analogous to earlier results showing an association with lack of concern for the quantity of outcomes. Finally, 1 experiment showed that some people are willing to sacrifice values to prevent losses more than they are willing to sacrifice these values for gains.
Article
Social psychologists have often followed other scientists in treating religiosity primarily as a set of beliefs held by individuals. But, beliefs are only one facet of this complex and multidimensional construct. The authors argue that social psychology can best contribute to scholarship on religion by being relentlessly social. They begin with a social-functionalist approach in which beliefs, rituals, and other aspects of religious practice are best understood as means of creating a moral community. They discuss the ways that religion is intertwined with five moral foundations, in particular the group-focused "binding" foundations of Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, Purity/sanctity. The authors use this theoretical perspective to address three mysteries about religiosity, including why religious people are happier, why they are more charitable, and why most people in the world are religious.
Article
One of the great intellectual battles of modern times is between evolution and religion. Until now, they have been considered completely irreconcilable theories of origin and existence. David Sloan Wilson's Darwin's Cathedral takes the radical step of joining the two, in the process proposing an evolutionary theory of religion that shakes both evolutionary biology and social theory at their foundations. The key, argues Wilson, is to think of society as an organism, an old idea that has received new life based on recent developments in evolutionary biology. If society is an organism, can we then think of morality and religion as biologically and culturally evolved adaptations that enable human groups to function as single units rather than mere collections of individuals? Wilson brings a variety of evidence to bear on this question, from both the biological and social sciences. From Calvinism in sixteenth-century Geneva to Balinese water temples, from hunter-gatherer societies to urban America, Wilson demonstrates how religions have enabled people to achieve by collective action what they never could do alone. He also includes a chapter considering forgiveness from an evolutionary perspective and concludes by discussing how all social organizations, including science, could benefit by incorporating elements of religion. Religious believers often compare their communities to single organisms and even to insect colonies. Astoundingly, Wilson shows that they might be literally correct. Intended for any educated reader, Darwin's Cathedral will change forever the way we view the relations among evolution, religion, and human society.
Article
Many people insist that their commitments to certain values (e.g. love, honor, justice) are absolute and inviolable - in effect, sacred. They treat the mere thought of trading off sacred values against secular ones (such as money) as transparently outrageous - in effect, taboo. Economists insist, however, that in a world of scarce resources, taboo trade-offs are unavoidable. Research shows that, although people do respond with moral outrage to taboo trade-offs, they often acquiesce when secular violations of sacred values are rhetorically reframed as routine or tragic trade-offs. The results reveal the peculiar character of moral boundaries on what is thinkable, alternately punitively rigid and forgivingly flexible.
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