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  • How Are Moral Foundations Associated with Climate-Friendly Consumption?

    2016

    Vainio, A., & Mäkiniemi, J.P.

    Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 29(2), 265-283

    We examined whether differences in climate-friendly choices between the supporters of left-wing and right-wing ideologies are based on different moral foundations. Moreover, we compared general and issue-specific endorsement of moral foundations applied to climate change. Study 1 examined the endorsement of general moral foundations of university students living in Finland (N = 272). Individualizing foundations were associated with increased climate-friendly choices and binding foundations were associated with decreased climate-friendly choices; the endorsement of moral foundations made the effect of political orientation disappear. In Study 2 we developed and tested an issue-specific measure of moral foundations (N = 350). The issue-specific endorsement of both types of foundations was directly associated with increased climate-friendly consumption. Binding foundations were associated with the avoidance of climate-friendly choices through right-wing orientation. These findings increase our understanding of differences between general and issue-specific moral concerns and their association to political orientation and pro-environmental behavior.

    Climate Change, Consumption, Finland

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  • Framing moral evaluations: Moral Foundations in U.S. newspaper coverage of mosque controversies.

    2014

    Bowe, B. J.

    Dissertation

    In recent years, attempts by Muslims all across the U.S. to build worship spaces have been met with opposition. Some opponents questioned whether Islam should be considered a religion afforded all the protections of the First Amendment, or whether it is a sinister ideology that posed a threat to American values and should therefore be opposed. Supporters, on the other hand, argued that protecting the rights of Muslims to worship freely is a validation of important American principles. This debate played out in news coverage of the issue. This dissertation examines the discourse in the debate through a framing analysis of news articles and editorials (n=349) from five U.S. newspapers between 2010 and 2013. Framing is the selection and emphasis of certain problem definitions, causal attributions, moral evaluations, and treatment recommendations in discussion of an issue. This research makes a contribution to framing theory by using Moral Foundations Theory to improve the operationalization of the moral evaluation dimension of framing. A cluster analysis of moral foundations was conducted, which four moral foundation profiles, all of which were strongly rooted in socially binding moral foundations. Those moral foundation variables were subsequently incorporated into a full framing analysis. A cluster analysis of all the framing components revealed five frames: Local Regulation, Political Debate, Muslim Neighbors, Islamic Threat, and Legal Authority. A subsequent qualitative analysis validated that these five frames encompassed the bulk of the debate.

    Ideology

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  • Individual Differences in Group Loyalty Predict Partisan Strength.

    2016

    Clifford, S.

    Political Behavior, 1-22.

    The strength of an individual’s identification with their political party is a powerful predictor of their engagement with politics, voting behavior, and polarization. Partisanship is often characterized as primarily a social identity, rather than an expression of instrumental goals. Yet, it is unclear why some people develop strong partisan attachments while others do not. I argue that the moral foundation of Loyalty, which represents an individual difference in the tendency to hold strong group attachments, facilitates stronger partisan identification. Across two samples, including a national panel and a convenience sample, as well as multiple measures of the moral foundations, I demonstrate that the Loyalty foundation is a robust predictor of partisan strength. Moreover, I show that these effects cannot be explained by patriotism, ideological extremity, or directional effects on partisanship. Overall, the results provide further evidence for partisanship as a social identity, as well as insight into the sources of partisan strength.

    Ideology, Empirical

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  • Moral foundations vignettes: a standardized stimulus database of scenarios based on moral foundations theory.

    2015

    Clifford, S., Iyengar, V., Cabeza, R., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W.

    Behavior Research Methods, 47(4), 178–1198.

    Research on the emotional, cognitive, and social determinants of moral judgment has surged in recent years. The development of moral foundations theory (MFT) has played an important role, demonstrating the breadth of morality. Moral psychology has responded by investigating how different domains of moral judgment are shaped by a variety of psychological factors. Yet, the discipline lacks a validated set of moral violations that span the moral domain, creating a barrier to investigating influences on judgment and how their neural bases might vary across the moral domain. In this paper, we aim to fill this gap by developing and validating a large set of moral foundations vignettes (MFVs). Each vignette depicts a behavior violating a particular moral foundation and not others. The vignettes are controlled on many dimensions including syntactic structure and complexity making them suitable for neuroimaging research. We demonstrate the validity of our vignettes by examining respondents’ classifications of moral violations, conducting exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, and demonstrating the correspondence between the extracted factors and existing measures of the moral foundations. We expect that the MFVs will be beneficial for a wide variety of behavioral and neuroimaging investigations of moral cognition.

    Measures

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  • How Words Do the Work of Politics: Moral Foundations Theory and the Debate over Stem Cell Research.

    2013

    Clifford, S., & Jerit, J.

    The Journal of Politics, 75(3), 659-671.

    Moral considerations underlie partisan and ideological identification along with a variety of political attitudes, yet we know little about how elites strategically appeal to the public’s moral intuitions. Building on Moral Foundations Theory, we investigate the causes and consequences of elite moral rhetoric in the debate over stem cell research. Through content analysis of 12 years of coverage in the New York Times, we find that proponents and opponents of stem cell research engage in distinctive patterns of moral rhetoric and place different weight on the foundations. We also demonstrate that the prevalence of moral rhetoric increases during periods of legislative activity, and we find some evidence that moral rhetoric increases in response to the opposing side’s use of moral language. Merging our content analysis with seven national surveys, the analysis shows that moral rhetoric has had a substantial effect on public attitudes regarding the fundamental considerations underpinning the debate.

    Ideology

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  • Will Morality or Political Ideology Determine Attitudes to Climate Change?

    2012

    Dawson, S. L., & Tyson, G. A.

    Australian Community Psychologist, 24(2), 8-25.

    Climate change is a major moral and political challenge facing Australia. Public attitudes to the issue influence public policy in respect of responding to climate change. Using Moral Foundations theory, this study investigates the relationship between attitudes to climate change, individuals’ moral intuitions and political affinity, using a sample of 487 Australian adults between the ages of 18 and 86. Patterns of moral intuitions scores which are higher for harm and fairness and lower for in-group, authority or purity correlated with liberalism and self reported left wing political orientation, and predicted a preference for a strong response to climate change irrespective of self interest. Patterns of moral intuitions scores which focus more equally on all five however, correlated with conservatism and self reported right wing political orientation, and predicted a preference for a reduced response. Specifically, intuitions concerned with harm and fairness were predictive of preference for stronger responses, whereas those concerned with loyalty to in-group were the opposite. Overall, moral intuitions predicted attitudes to response to climate change, but the relationship was partially mediated by political affinity. The study is further evidence of the relevance of Moral Foundations Theory to moral issues, particularly those requiring a political response.

    Ideology, Cross-Cultural

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  • Shifting Liberal and Conservative Attitudes Using Moral Foundations Theory.

    2014

    Day, M. V., Fiske, S. T., Downing, E. L., & Trail, T. E.

    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40(12), 1559-1573.

    People’s social and political opinions are grounded in their moral concerns about right and wrong. We examine whether five moral foundations—harm, fairness, ingroup, authority, and purity—can influence political attitudes of liberals and conservatives across a variety of issues. Framing issues using moral foundations may change political attitudes in at least two possible ways: (a) Entrenching: Relevant moral foundations will strengthen existing political attitudes when framing pro-attitudinal issues (e.g., conservatives exposed to a free-market economic stance) and (b) Persuasion: Mere presence of relevant moral foundations may also alter political attitudes in counter-attitudinal directions (e.g., conservatives exposed to an economic regulation stance). Studies 1 and 2 support the entrenching hypothesis. Relevant moral foundation-based frames bolstered political attitudes for conservatives (Study 1) and liberals (Study 2). Only Study 2 partially supports the persuasion hypothesis. Conservative-relevant moral frames of liberal issues increased conservatives’ liberal attitudes.

    Ideology

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  • Which Moral Foundations Predict Willingness to Make Lifestyle Changes to Avert Climate Change in the USA?

    2016

    Dickinson, J. L., McLeod, P., Bloomfield, R., & Allred, S.

    PLoS ONE 11(10): e0163852.

    Jonathan Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory identifies five moral axes that can influence human motivation to take action on vital problems like climate change. The theory focuses on five moral foundations, including compassion, fairness, purity, authority, and ingroup loyalty; these have been found to differ between liberals and conservatives as well as Democrats and Republicans. Here we show, based on the Cornell National Social Survey (USA), that valuations of compassion and fairness were strong, positive predictors of willingness to act on climate change, whereas purity had a non-significant tendency in the positive direction (p = 0.07). Ingroup loyalty and authority were not supported as important predictor variables using model selection (). Compassion and fairness were more highly valued by liberals, whereas purity, authority, and in-group loyalty were more highly valued by conservatives. As in previous studies, participants who were younger, more liberal, and reported greater belief in climate change, also showed increased willingness to act on climate change. Our research supports the potential importance of moral foundations as drivers of intentions with respect to climate change action, and suggests that compassion, fairness, and to a lesser extent, purity, are potential moral pathways for personal action on climate change in the USA.

    Ideology, Empirical

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  • Using Moral Foundations to Predict Voting Behavior: Regression Models from the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election.

    2015

    Franks, A. S., & Scherr, K. C.

    Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 15, 213–232.

    The current research examined the ability of moral foundations to predict candidate choice in the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election across three studies. Results indicated that endorsement of moral foundations predicted voting outcomes beyond that predicted by important demographic variables that are traditionally included in election forecasts and research. When moral foundations were collapsed into two variables (individualizing and binding foundations), increased endorsement of the individualizing foundations consistently predicted support for Barack Obama, and increased endorsement of the binding foundations consistently predicted support for Mitt Romney. The most reliable unique predictor of candidate choice among the five separate foundations was purity, which strongly motivated support for Mitt Romney. Additionally, increased endorsement of the fairness foundation uniquely predicted support for Barack Obama. The effects observed across the three studies demonstrate a direct relationship between moral foundations endorsements and candidate choice. Implications for those using moral appeals in their political influence strategies are discussed.

    Ideology

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  • Morality Between the Lines: Detecting Moral Sentiment In Text.

    2016

    Garten, J., Boghrati, R., Hoover, J., Johnson, K. M., & Dehghani, M.

    In the proceedings of IJCAI 2016 workshop on Computational Modeling of Attitudes

    Expressions of moral sentiment play a fundamental role in political framing, social solidarity, and basic human motivation. Moral rhetoric helps us communicate the reasoning behind our choices, how we feel we should govern, and the communities to which we belong. In this paper, we use shortpost social media to compare the accuracy of text analysis methods for detecting moral rhetoric and longer form political speeches to explore detecting shifts in that rhetoric over time. Building on previous work using word count methods and the Moral Foundations Dictionary [Graham et al., 2009], we make use of pre-trained distributed representations for words to extend this dictionary. We show that combining the MFD with distributed representations allows us to capture a cleaner signal when detecting moral rhetoric, particularly with shortform text. We further demonstrate how the addition of distributed representations can simplify dictionary creation. Finally, we demonstrate how capturing moral rhetoric in text over time opens up new avenues for research such as assessing when and how arguments become moralized and how moral rhetoric impacts subsequent behavior.

    Measures, Ideology

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  • Are all types of morality compromised in psychopathy?

    2009

    Glenn, A. L., Iyer, R., Graham, J., Koleva, S., & Haidt, J.

    Journal of Personality Disorders, 23(4), 384-398.

    A long-standing puzzle for moral philosophers and psychologists alike is the concept of psychopathy, a personality disorder marked by tendencies to defy moral norms despite cognitive knowledge about right and wrong. Previously, discussions of the moral deficits of psychopathy have focused on willingness to harm and cheat others as well as reasoning about rule-based transgressions. Yet recent research in moral psychology has begun to more clearly define the domains of morality, encompassing issues of harm, fairness, loyalty, authority, and spiritual purity. Clinical descriptions and theories of psychopathy suggest that deficits may exist primarily in the areas of harm and fairness, although quantitative evidence is scarce. Within a broad sample of participants, we found that scores on a measure of psychopathy predicted sharply lower scores on the harm and fairness subscales of a measure of moral concern, but showed no relationship with authority, and very small relationships with ingroup and purity. On a measure of willingness to violate moral standards for money, psychopathy scores predicted greater willingness to violate moral concerns of any type. Results are further explored via potential mediators and analyses of the two factors of psychopathy.

    Personality

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  • Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism.

    2012

    Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S., & Ditto, P. H.

    Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 55-130.

    Where does morality come from? Why are moral judgments often so similar across cultures, yet sometimes so variable? Is morality one thing, or many? Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) was created to answer these questions. In this chapter we describe the origins, assumptions, and current conceptualization of the theory, and detail the empirical findings that MFT has made possible, both within social psychology and beyond. Looking toward the future, we embrace several critiques of the theory, and specify five criteria for determining what should be considered a foundation of human morality. Finally, we suggest a variety of future directions for MFT and for moral psychology.

    Intro, Theory

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  • The Moral Stereotypes of Liberals and Conservatives: Exaggeration of Differences across the Political Spectrum.

    2012

    Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., & Haidt, J.

    PLoS ONE, 7(12), e50092.

    We investigated the moral stereotypes political liberals and conservatives have of themselves and each other. In reality, liberals endorse the individual-focused moral concerns of compassion and fairness more than conservatives do, and conservatives endorse the group-focused moral concerns of ingroup loyalty, respect for authorities and traditions, and physical/spiritual purity more than liberals do. 2,212 U.S. participants filled out the Moral Foundations Questionnaire with their own answers, or as a typical liberal or conservative would answer. Across the political spectrum, moral stereotypes about “typical” liberals and conservatives correctly reflected the direction of actual differences in foundation endorsement but exaggerated the magnitude of these differences. Contrary to common theories of stereotyping, the moral stereotypes were not simple underestimations of the political outgroup's morality. Both liberals and conservatives exaggerated the ideological extremity of moral concerns for the ingroup as well as the outgroup. Liberals were least accurate about both groups.

    Ideology, Empirical

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  • Sacred values and evil adversaries: A Moral Foundations approach.

    2011

    Graham, J., & Haidt, J.

    In P. Shaver & M. Mikulincer (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Morality: Exploring the Causes of Good and Evil. New York: APA Books.

    Introduction: 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 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, this volume, on “idealistic evil”; Glover, 1999, on tribalism; and Skitka & Mullen, 2002, and Skitka, this volume, 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 explaining why so many different principles and objects can become sacred, along with an account of how sacredness permits and motivates different patterns of evil behavior.

    Theory, Measures, Empirical

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  • Mapping the moral domain.

    2011

    Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., & Ditto, P. H.

    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 366-385.

    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.
    Two clarifications: Schwartz's values model was in fact extensively tested cross-culturally, and was based on a prior theoretical principles, not only bottom-up factor analyses.

    Theory, Measures, Empirical

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    Also, see this online supplement.

  • Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations.

    2009

    Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A.

    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(5), 1029-1046.

    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."

    Intro, Ideology, Theory, Empirical

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    This article presents support for our hypothesis about moral foundation differences across political ideology, using abstract assessments of moral relevance, concrete moral judgments, unwillingness to violate the foundations for money, and foundation-related word usage in the sermons of liberal and conservative churches. To see the supplemental document that goes with the article, describing confirmatory factor analyses, please click here

  • Being bad in a video game can make us more morally sensitive.

    2014

    Grizzard, M., Tamborini, R,, Lewis, R.J., Wang, L., & Prabhu, S.

    Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(8):499-504.

    Several researchers have demonstrated that the virtual behaviors committed in a video game can elicit feelings of guilt. Researchers have proposed that such guilt could have prosocial consequences. However, this proposition has not been supported with empirical evidence. The current study examined this issue in a 2×2 (video game play vs. real world recollection×guilt vs. control) experiment. Participants were first randomly assigned to either play a video game or complete a memory recall task. Next, participants were randomly assigned to either a guilt-inducing condition (game play as a terrorist/recall of acts that induce guilt) or a control condition (game play as a UN soldier/recall of acts that do not induce guilt). Results of the study indicate several important findings. First, the current results replicate previous research indicating that immoral virtual behaviors are capable of eliciting guilt. Second, and more importantly, the guilt elicited by game play led to intuition-specific increases in the salience of violated moral foundations. These findings indicate that committing "immoral" virtual behaviors in a video game can lead to increased moral sensitivity of the player. The potential prosocial benefits of these findings are discussed.

    Personality

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  • Planet of the Durkheimians, Where Community, Authority, and Sacredness are Foundations of Morality.

    2009

    Haidt, J., & Graham, J.

    In J. Jost, A. C. Kay, & H. Thorisdottir (Eds.), Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification.

    Most academic efforts to understand morality and ideology come from theorists who limit the domain of morality to issues related to harm and fairness. For such theorists, conservative beliefs are puzzles requiring non-moral explanations. In contrast, we present moral foundations theory, which broadens the moral domain to match the anthropological literature on morality. We extend the theory by integrating it with a review of the sociological constructs of community, authority, and sacredness, as formulated by Emile Durkheim and others. We present data supporting the theory, which also shows that liberals misunderstand the explicit moral concerns of conservatives more than conservatives misunderstand liberals. We suggest that what liberals see as a non-moral motivation for system justification may be better described as a moral motivation to protect society, groups, and the structures and constraints that are often (although not always) beneficial for individuals. Finally, we outline the possible benefits of a moral foundations perspective for system justification theory (SJT), including better understandings of (a) why the system justifying motive is palliative despite some harmful effects, (b) possible evolutionary origins of the motive, and (c) the values and worldviews of conservatives in general.

    Theory

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    This article illustrates why ingroup, authority, and purity might be considered "moral" foundations. It shows how these concepts were at the heart of early sociological attempts to understand modernity and morality.

  • Above and below left-right: Ideological narratives and moral foundations.

    2009

    Haidt, J., Graham, J., & Joseph, C.

    Psychological Inquiry, 20, 110-119.

    Overview: The article attempts to make a case for expanding the psychological study of ideology to incorporate the ideological narratives that give individuals and groups a sense of meaning and purpose. The article elaborately discusses three-level account of personality advanced by Dan McAdams, including dispositional traits, characteristic adaptations, and life stories. The article also focuses on Moral Foundation Theory in the context of political ideology.

    Ideology, Theory, Personality

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  • The moral mind: How 5 sets of innate moral intuitions guide the development of many culture-specific virtues, and perhaps even modules.

    2007

    Haidt, J., & Joseph, C.

    In P. Carruthers, S. Laurence, and S. Stich (Eds.) The Innate Mind, Vol. 3.

    Morality is one of the few topics in academe endowed with its own protective spell. A biologist is not blinded by her biological nature to the workings of biology. An economist is not confused by his own economic activity when he tries to understand the workings of markets1. But students of morality are often biased by their own moral commitments. Morality is so contested and so important to people that it is often difficult to set aside one’s humanity and study morality in a clinically detached way. One problem is that the psychological study of morality, like psychology itself (Redding, 2001), has been dominated by politically liberal researchers (which includes us). The lack of moral and political diversity among researchers has led to an inappropriate narrowing of the moral domain to issues of harm/care and fairness/reciprocity/justice (Haidt & Graham, 2007). Morality in most cultures (and for social conservatives in Western cultures), is in fact much broader, including issues of ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity (Haidt & Graham, 2007; in press).

    This article is about how morality might be partially innate, by which we simply mean organized, to some extent, in advance of experience (Marcus, 2004). We begin by arguing for a broader conception of morality and suggesting that most of the discussion of innateness to date has not been about morality per se; it has been about whether the psychology of harm and fairness is innate. Once we have made our case that morality involves five domains, not two, we turn our attention to the ways in which this diverse collection of motives and concepts might be innate. We consider five hypotheses about the origins of moral knowledge and value, and we endorse one of them (a form of flexible and generative modularity) as being the best candidate. Next, we develop this version of modular morality by describing how the innately specified “first draft” of the moral mind gets modified during development.

    Theory, Cross-Cultural

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    This article goes into detail on the cognitive and evolutionary psychology of MFT. What does it mean to say that something is a "foundation" of morality?

  • When morality opposes justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize.

    2007

    Haidt, J., & Graham, J.

    Social Justice Research, 20, 98-116.

    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.

    Intro, Theory, Ideology, Empirical

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    This is an academic article that should be accessible to a non-academic audience. It focuses on the difficulty that liberals and conservatives may have in understanding each other's morality.

  • Intuitive Ethics: How Innately Prepared Intuitions Generate Culturally Variable Virtues.

    2004

    Haidt, J. & Joseph, C.

    Daedalus, 55-66.

    Strangeness is fascinating. Medieval maps embellished with fantastical beasts, sixteenth-century wonder chambers filled with natural and technological marvels, even late-twentieth-century supermarket tabloids–all attest to the human fascination with things that violate our basic ideas about reality. The study of morality and culture is therefore an intrinsically fascinating topic. People have created moralities as divergent as those of Nazis and Quakers, headhunters and Jains. And yet, when we look closely at the daily lives of people in divergent cultures, we can find elements that arise in nearly all of them– for example, reciprocity, loyalty, respect for (some) authority, limits on physical harm, and regulation of eating and sexuality. What are we to make of this pattern of similarity within profound difference? Social scientists have traditionally taken two approaches.

    The empiricist approach posits that moral knowledge, moral beliefs, moral action, and all the other stuff of morality are learned in childhood. There is no moral faculty or moral anything else built into the human mind, although there may be some innate learning mechanisms that enable the acquisition of later knowledge. To the extent that there are similarities across cultures, they arise because all cultures face similar problems (e.g., how to divide power and resources, care for children, and resolve disputes) for which they have often developed similar solutions.

    The nativist approach, on the other hand, holds that knowledge about such issues as fairness, harm, and respect for authority has been built into the human mind by evolution. All children who are raised in a reasonable environment will come to develop these ideas, even if they are not taught by adults. To the extent that there are differences across cultures, they arise because of local variation in the implementation of universal moral knowledge (e.g., should relations among siblings be guided by rank and respect for elders, or by equality and reciprocity?).

    We would like to take the opportunity afforded by this Dædalus issue on human nature to work through one aspect of the idea that morality is both innate and learned. We are not going to offer a wishy-washy, split-the-difference approach. Rather, we will present a modified nativist view that we believe fully respects the depth and importance of cultural variation in morality. We will do this by focusing attention on a heretofore ignored link: the link between intuitions, especially a subset of intuitions that we argue are innate in important respects, and virtues, which by and large are social constructions.

    We propose that human beings come equipped with an intuitive ethics, an innate preparedness to feel flashes of approval or disapproval toward certain patterns of events involving other human beings. The four patterns for which we believe the evidence is best are those surrounding suffering, hierarchy, reciprocity, and purity. These intuitions under-gird the moral systems that cultures develop, including their understandings of virtues and character. By recognizing that cultures build incommensurable moralities on top of a foundation of shared intuitions, we can develop new approaches to moral education and to the moral conflicts that divide our diverse society.

    Intro, Theory

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    This was the very first article, proposing that there were four best candidates for being foundations of morality. A fifth -- ingroup -- was suggested as the next best candidate in a footnote. This article's main contribution is to explore the relationship between virtues and innateness.

  • Applying moral foundations theory to understanding public views of sexual offending.

    2016

    Harper, C. A., & Harris, A. J.

    Journal of Sexual Aggression, 1-13.

    Much research has examined the views held by citizens about sexual offenders and related policy responses. Although studies have extensively examined demographic correlates of such views, little attention has been paid to psychological mechanisms that underpin them. Gaining a deeper understanding of such mechanisms may ultimately prove useful for informing communication strategies around the problem of sexual violence. We propose the application of moral foundations theory as a means of exploring the roots of the current punitive consensus around sexual crime policy at the macro level, as well as individual variability in attitudes about sexual violence. Following an overview of the sexual offender policy landscape, and a description of MFT principles, we outline how this framework can help to explain both convergence and divergence in responses to sexual offending among members of the public. We also provide a series of testable hypotheses to stimulate further research in this area.

    Ideology

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  • Compassionate liberals and polite conservatives: Associations of agreeableness with political ideology and moral values.

    2010

    Hirsh, J. B., DeYoung, C. G., Xu, X., & Peterson, J. B.

    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36(5), 655-664.

    Political conservatism has been characterized by resistance to change and acceptance of inequality, with liberalism characterized by the polar opposite of these values. Political attitudes are heritable and may be influenced by basic personality traits. In previous research, conservatism (vs. liberalism) has been associated positively with Conscientiousness and negatively with Openness-Intellect, consistent with the association of conservatism with resistance to change. Less clear, however, are the personality traits relating to egalitarianism. In two studies, using a personality model that divides each of the Big Five into two aspects, the present research found that one aspect of Agreeableness (Compassion) was associated with liberalism and egalitarianism, whereas the other (Politeness) was associated with conservatism and traditionalism. In addition, conservatism and moral traditionalism were positively associated with the Orderliness aspect of Conscientiousness and negatively with Openness-Intellect. These findings contribute to a more nuanced understanding of personality’s relation to political attitudes and values.

    Personality, Ideology

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  • Understanding Libertarian Morality: The Psychological Dispositions of Self-Identified Libertarians.

    2012

    Iyer, R., Koleva, S. P., Graham, J., Ditto, P. H., & Haidt, J.

    PLoS One, 7(8), e42366.

    Libertarians are an increasingly prominent ideological group in U.S. politics, yet they have been largely unstudied. Across 16 measures in a large web-based sample that included 11,994 self-identified libertarians, we sought to understand the moral and psychological characteristics of self-described libertarians. Based on an intuitionist view of moral judgment, we focused on the underlying affective and cognitive dispositions that accompany this unique worldview. Compared to self-identified liberals and conservatives, libertarians showed 1) stronger endorsement of individual liberty as their foremost guiding principle, and weaker endorsement of all other moral principles; 2) a relatively cerebral as opposed to emotional cognitive style; and 3) lower interdependence and social relatedness. As predicted by intuitionist theories concerning the origins of moral reasoning, libertarian values showed convergent relationships with libertarian emotional dispositions and social preferences. Our findings add to a growing recognition of the role of personality differences in the organization of political attitudes.

    Ideology, Empirical, Personality

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  • The Case for Honesty as a Moral Foundation.

    2010

    Iyer, R.

    Blog posting at PoliPsych.com.

    Theory

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  • Beyond Identity Politics: Moral Psychology and the 2008 Democratic Primary.

    2010

    Iyer, R., Graham, J., Koleva, S., Ditto, P. H., & Haidt, J.

    Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 10(1), 293-306.

    The two leading candidates for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, had very similar policy positions and yet demonstrated appeal to disparate populations. Much has been written in the press about demographic differences between supporters of these candidates, but little is known about these groups’ psychological profiles. We used standard personality and moral psychology scales to predict differential favorability ratings toward these candidates, while controlling for age, gender, education, and political orientation. Higher scores on group-based morality, primary psychopathy, and moral relativism predicted relative favorability toward Clinton. Higher scores on individual-based morality, empathy, and global concern for others predicted relative favorability toward Obama. The authors discuss how voters’ personalities and moral concerns may interact with media portrayals of the candidates—consistent with recent congruency models of political preference—especially in cases where policy differences are small.

    Ideology

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  • Robustness of Liberal-Conservative Moral Foundations Questionnaire Differences.

    2009

    Iyer, R.

    Blog posting at PoliPsych.com.

    This posting addresses the fact that our data is not at all representative of the USA, or any nation. As Kinsey did with his many non-representative samples of sex data, Iyer tests whether our main pattern of liberal-conservative differences is robust across samples based on the many sources -- liberal and conservative -- that sent people to Yourmorals.org.

    Ideology, Measures, Empirical

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  • Gut or Game? The Influence of MoralIntuitions on Decisions in Video Games.

    2012

    Joeckel, S., Bowman, N. D., & Dogruel, L.

    Media Psychology, 15, 460-485.

    Recent theorizing on the role of morality in media entertainment suggests morality serves as a guiding force in audience reactions to content. Using moral foundations theory as a base, research has found significant associations between moral salience and audience preferences for and responses to film and television varying in their presentations of morality. Our study extends this work by testing the same relationship in video games. Because a distinguishing factor between video games and traditional media is interactivity, our study focuses on how moral salience predicts decisions made in a video game. We find that increased moral salience led to a decreased probability of moral violations, while decreased moral salience led to an observed random (50%) distribution of violations. This finding was largely stable across different morality subcultures (German, United States) and age groups (adolescents and elderly), with deviations from this pattern explained by theory. We interpret this as evidence for a gut or game explanation of decision making in video games. When users encounter virtual scenarios that prime their moral sensitivities, they rely on their moral intuitions; otherwise, they make satisficing decisions not as an indication of moral corruption but merely as a continuation of the virtual experience.

    Cross-Cultural

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  • Ideology-Specific Patterns of Moral Indifference Predict Intentions Not to Vote.

    2014

    Johnson, K. M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S. P., Vaisey, S., Miles, A., Chu, V., & Graham, J.

    Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 1-17.

    Results from a nationally representative survey (N = 1,341) provide evidence that self-reported nonvoting behavior is associated with lower endorsement of moral concerns and values (Study 1). Across three studies, five large samples (total N = 27,038), and two presidential elections, we replicate this pattern and show that the explicit attention not to vote is associated with lower endorsement of moral concerns and values (Studies 2 - 4). This pattern was not found for endorsement of nonmoral values. Separate analyses for liberals, conservatives, libertarians, and Tea Party supporters reveal that the intention not to vote is specifically associated with low endorsement of the moral concerns most associated with one's ideological group. Care and Fairness concerns predicted voting intentions for liberals, while Loyalty, Authority ,and Sanctity concerns predicted voting intentions for conservatives and members of the Tea Party group FreedomWorks.

    Ideology

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  • The end of equipotentiality: A moral foundations approach to ideology-attitude links and cognitive complexity.

    2009

    Joseph, C. M., Graham, J., & Haidt, J.

    Psychological Inquiry, 20, 172-176.

    Overview: In this commentary we explain how MFT allows us to reject equipotentiality in response to both questions yet still understand the substantial degree of “looseness” between ideologies (or political parties) and issue positions across the nations and historical eras documented in the articles cited by the editors. The key idea, as we said in our target article, is that moral foundations are just foundations; there is always a great deal of cultural construction necessary to connect specific issues, framed in culturally and historically variable ways, to the specific moral intuitions of any one individual. Nevertheless, the moral foundations can help explain why equipotentiality does not apply to political ideology.

    Theory, Ideology, Personality

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  • Getting Liberals and Conservatives to Go Green: Political Ideology and Congruent Appeals.

    2013

    Kidwell, B., Farmer, A., & Hardesty, D. M.

    Journal of Consumer Research, 40(2), 350-367.

    The authors develop a conceptual model of how the congruence of political ideology and persuasive appeals enhances sustainable behaviors. In study 1, persuasive appeals consistent with individualizing and binding moral foundations were developed to enhance liberal and conservative recycling. In study 2, individualizing and binding appeals were tested on actual recycling behavior using a longitudinal field study to demonstrate the effectiveness of messages congruent with the moral foundations of liberals and conservatives. Study 3 demonstrated that enhanced fluency represents the underlying psychological process that mediates the relationship between message congruence and intentions. Moreover, study 3 established that spillover effects resulting from increased intentions to engage in sustainable disposition behavior enhance intentions to engage in sustainable acquisition and consumption behaviors. Finally, study 4 ruled out potential message confounds to demonstrate the robustness of the findings. Practical implications for marketers and public policy officials interested in increasing sustainable behaviors are offered.

    Ideology

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  • Moral Values from Simple Game Play.

    2013

    Kim, E., Iyer, R., Graham, J., Chang, Y., & Maheswaran, R.

    In A. M. Greenberg, W. G. Kennedy, & N. D. Bos (Eds.), Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling, and Prediction (pp. 56-64). New York: Springer.

    We investigate whether a small digital trace, gathered from simple repeated matrix game play data, can reveal fundamental aspects of a person’s sacred values or moral identity. We find correlations that are often counterintuitive on the surface, but are coherent upon deeper analysis. This ability to reveal information about a person’s moral identity could be useful in a wide variety of settings.

    Personality

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  • Moral intuitions and political orientation: Similarities and differences between Korea and the United States.

    2012

    Kim, K. R., Kang, J., & Yun, S.

    Psychological Reports, 111(1), 173-185.

    Koreans and Americans were compared in terms of political ideology and moral attitudes. The pattern found among U.S. participants is that liberals rated moral concerns about harm and unfairness higher than Korean conservatives, but conservatives rated moral concerns about betrayals of the ingroup and violations of social hierarchies and physical/spiritual purity higher. Compared with U.S. data (in which concerns about purity and disgust showed the strongest relation to ideology), Korean data revealed higher purity concerns overall, and a weaker relationship between purity concerns and ideology. Results suggested that while the patterns of ideological difference in moral concerns are the same, the magnitude of the differences depends upon the particular histories, traditions, and socioecological factors of these different cultures. They also emphasize a consistent pattern of overall moral structure: liberals discounted concerns related to group cohesiveness (rating them at best "slightly relevant") and rated only individualistic concerns as "somewhat" to "very" relevant, while conservatives rated all moral concerns in the latter range, nearly equating individual and group moral concerns.

    Cross-Cultural, Ideology

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  • Let's use Einstein's safety razor, not Occam's Swiss Army knife or Occam's chainsaw.

    2012

    Koleva, S., & Haidt, J.

    Psychological Inquiry, 23, 175-178.

    Overview: The article offers the authors' view on the article which discusses the others' intentions, dyadic template of moral agent, and suffering as perception of moral judgments. They disagree that moral judgment is reducible to suffering as morality has other fundamental properties like valence. They discuss that harm has different usage and the article's use for it is too abstract to be useful. They conclude that the authors of the article have used the wrong tools to construct their theory.

    Theory, Critiques

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  • Tracing the threads: how five moral concerns (especially Purity) help explain culture war attitudes.

    2012

    Koleva, S. P., Graham, J., Ditto, P., Iyer, R., & Haidt, J.

    Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 184-194.

    Commentators have noted that the issue stands taken by each side of the American “culture war” lack conceptual consistency and can even seem contradictory. We sought to understand the psychological underpinnings of culture war attitudes using Moral Foundations Theory. In two studies involving 24,739 participants and 20 such issues (e.g. abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage), we found that endorsement of five moral foundations predicted judgments about these issues over and above ideology, age, gender, religious attendance, and interest in politics. Our results suggest that dispositional tendencies, particularly a person’s moral intuitions, may underlie, motivate, and unite ideological positions across a variety of issues and offer new insights into the multiple “moral threads” connecting disparate political positions.

    Ideology, Empirical

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  • The Moral Compass of Insecurity: Anxious and Avoidant Attachment Predict Moral Judgment.

    2014

    Koleva, S., Selterman, D., Iyer, R., Ditto, P., & Graham, J.

    Social Psychological and Personality Science, 5(2), 185-194.

    Three studies examined the associations between relational adult attachment and moral judgment. Study 1 shows that attachment-related anxiety and avoidance are uniquely and differentially related to moral concerns. Relative to low insecurity, higher avoidance was associated with weaker moral concerns about harm and unfairness, whereas higher anxiety was associated with stronger moral concerns about harm, unfairness, and impurity. Study 2 replicates these associations and shows that the effect for harm and fairness is mediated by attachment differences in empathic concern, whereas the effect for purity is mediated by disgust sensitivity. Furthermore, using an alternative measure of moral judgment we replicate the negative association between avoidance and harm concerns. Study 3 unpacks fairness judgments into three subcomponents and shows that even at this level avoidance and anxiety show divergent associations. Future directions for empirical examinations of morality and attachment are discussed.

    Personality

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  • Another Look at Moral Foundations Theory: Do Authoritarianism and Social Dominance Orientation Explain Liberal-Conservative Differences in “Moral” Intuitions?

    2014

    Kugler, M., Jost, J. T., & Noorbaloochi, S.

    Social Justice Research, 27(4), 413–431.

    Moral foundations theorists propose that the moral domain should include not only “liberal” ethics of justice and care but also ostensibly “conservative” concerns about the virtues of ingroup loyalty, obedience to authority, and enforcement of purity standards. This proposal clashes with decades of research in political psychology connecting the latter set of characteristics to “the authoritarian personality.” We demonstrate that liberal-conservative differences in moral intuitions are statistically mediated by authoritarianism and social dominance orientation, so that conservatives’ greater valuation of ingroup, authority, and purity concerns is attributable to higher levels of authoritarianism, whereas liberals’ greater valuation of fairness and harm avoidance is attributable to lower levels of social dominance. We also find that ingroup, authority, and purity concerns are positively associated with intergroup hostility and support for discrimination, whereas concerns about fairness and harm avoidance are negatively associated with these variables. These findings might lead some to question the wisdom and appropriateness of efforts to “broaden” scientific conceptions of morality in such a way that preferences based on authoritarianism and social dominance are treated as moral—rather than amoral or even immoral—and suggest that the explicit goal of incorporating conservative ideology into the study of moral psychology (in order to increase ideological diversity) may lead researchers astray.

    Critiques, Ideology

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  • From left to right: How the personality system allows basic traits to influence politics via characteristic moral adaptation.

    2011

    Lewis, G. J., & Bates, T. C.

    British Journal of Psychology, 102, 546-558.

    Research on the association of personality to political orientation has suggested that direct influences are modest. Here we used a personality system model in which direct influences on political behaviour flow from moral values, with personality mostly acting on these characteristic moral adaptations, rather than directly affecting political attitudes. Study 1 in 447 subjects supported this model, with significant effects on political orientation flowing from four of the five-factor model personality domains, but largely mediated through moral values concerning the importance of group order and individual rights. This personality system model was replicated in an independent study (n= 476) using a US sample and including a different measure of politics. Both studies support predictions that personality has significant effects on political attitudes, but that these are exerted largely via moral values. These findings help to explain inconsistencies in previous studies attempting to link personality to political orientation that have not included the intermediary level of values.

    Ideology, Personality

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    The authors find that the small correlations typically found between Big 5 personality traits and ideology (liberal to conservative) become much bigger when you put moral foundations in between the two constructs. In other words, basic personality influences poeple's moral attitudes, and those attitudes then dispose people to identify as liberal or conservative

  • Moral Foundations and Attitudes Towards the Poor.

    2015

    Low, M., & Wui, M.G.L.

    Current Psychology, 1-7.

    Why does the public have such polarizing views on the poor? This paper attempts to understand this issue by examining and exploring what predicts attitudes towards the poor. The exploration of this issue begins with a reference to the Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) and how this particular framework has been used to explain polarizing issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research, among others. This paper argues that the MFT can provide a similar insight on attitudes towards the poor. With the MFT as a backdrop, the current study tested out the hypothesis using hierarchical multiple regression and explored the results further by using dominance analysis. Results showed that the Moral Foundations were good predictors of attitudes towards the poor. While Harm emerged as the only significant predictor, dominance analysis revealed the importance of each foundation as predictors. Harm is the strongest predictor followed by Fairness, Authority, Ingroup, and Purity. All five foundations appear to be better predictors as compared to one’s political affiliation.

    Ideology

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  • Binding Moral Foundations and the Narrowing of Ideological Conflict to the Traditional Morality Domain.

    2016

    Malka, A., Osborne, D., Soto, C. J., Greaves, L. M., Sibley, C. G., & Lelkes, Y.

    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(9), 1243-1257.

    Moral foundations theory (MFT) posits that binding moral foundations (purity, authority, and ingroup loyalty) are rooted in the need for groups to promote order and cohesion, and that they therefore underlie political conservatism. We present evidence that binding foundations (and the related construct of disgust sensitivity) are associated with lower levels of ideological polarization on political issues outside the domain of moral traditionalism. Consistent support for this hypothesis was obtained from three large American Internet-based samples and one large national sample of New Zealanders (combined N = 7,874). We suggest that when political issues do not have inherent relevance to moral traditionalism, binding foundations promote a small centrist shift away from ideologically prescribed positions, and that they do so out of desire for national uniformity and cohesion.

    Cross-Cultural, Ideology, Empirical

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  • Family Metaphors and Moral Intuitions: How Conservatives and Liberals Narrate Their Lives.

    2008

    McAdams, D. P., Albaugh, M., Farber, E., Daniels, J., Logan, R. L., & Olson, B.

    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95(4), 978 –990.

    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.

    Ideology, Personality, Empirical

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  • Morality and politics: Comparing alternate theories.

    2015

    Miles, A., & Vaisey, S.

    Social Science Research, 53, 252–269.

    Debates about the American “culture wars” have led scholars to develop several theories relating morality to political attitudes and behaviors. However, researchers have not adequately compared these theories, nor have they examined the overall contribution of morality to explaining political variation. This study uses nationally representative data to compare the utility of 19 moral constructs from four research traditions – associated with the work of Hunter, Lakoff, Haidt, and Schwartz – for predicting political orientation (liberalism/conservatism). Results indicate that morality explains a third of the variation in political orientation – more than basic demographic and religious predictors – but that no one theory provides a fully adequate explanation of this phenomenon. Instead, political orientation is best predicted by selected moral constructs that are unique to each of the four traditions, and by two moral constructs that crosscut them. Future work should investigate how these moral constructs can be synthesized to create a more comprehensive theory of morality and politics.

    Ideology, Critiques

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  • Demographic correlates of moral differences in the contemporary United States.

    2014

    Miles, A.

    Poetics, 46, 75–88.

    Bourdieu argued that cultural tastes have tangible social and economic consequences. Some work suggests that moral differences might have similar effects, but it is not yet clear how morality is distributed across the social landscape, and hence where moral variation is likely to occur. This research note examines the relationships between several well-established morality measures and an extensive set of demographic variables using Bayesian model averaging (BMA), a statistical technique that better captures uncertainty in parameter estimates. Results show that gender, age cohort, and religious affiliation predict the widest range of moral constructs, followed by education and marital status. Comparison with earlier work suggests that gender, age, and religious affiliation are important predictors of morality generally.

    Empirical

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  • Moral foundations and political attitudes: The moderating role of political sophistication.

    2016

    Milesi, P.

    International Journal of Psychology, 51(4), 252–260.

    Political attitudes can be associated with moral concerns. This research investigated whether people's level of political sophistication moderates this association. Based on the Moral Foundations Theory, this article examined whether political sophistication moderates the extent to which reliance on moral foundations, as categories of moral concerns, predicts judgements about policy positions. With this aim, two studies examined four policy positions shown by previous research to be best predicted by the endorsement of Sanctity, that is, the category of moral concerns focused on the preservation of physical and spiritual purity. The results showed that reliance on Sanctity predicted political sophisticates' judgements, as opposed to those of unsophisticates, on policy positions dealing with equal rights for same-sex and unmarried couples and with euthanasia. Political sophistication also interacted with Fairness endorsement, which includes moral concerns for equal treatment of everybody and reciprocity, in predicting judgements about equal rights for unmarried couples, and interacted with reliance on Authority, which includes moral concerns for obedience and respect for traditional authorities, in predicting opposition to stem cell research. Those findings suggest that, at least for these particular issues, endorsement of moral foundations can be associated with political attitudes more strongly among sophisticates than unsophisticates.

    Ideology, Cross-Cultural

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  • Pluralistic morality and collective action: The role of moral foundations.

    2016

    Milesi, P., & Alberici, A. I.

    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, 1-22.

    Starting from the pluralistic view of morality proposed by the moral foundations theory, this paper aims at highlighting the plurality of personal moral concerns that may drive people to collective action and at investigating how they are connected with other personal and group-based motivations to act (i.e., moral obligation, moral convictions, politicized group identity, group efficacy, and group-based anger). Moral foundations can be distinguished into individualizing foundations, aimed at protecting individual rights and well-being; and binding foundations, aimed at tightening people into ordered communities. We expected that collective action intention would be most strongly associated with an individualizing foundation in equality-focused movements, and with a binding foundation in conformity-focused ones. Four studies that examined activists of both liberal and conservative movements confirmed these expectations. The relevant foundations predicted collective action mainly through the mediation of moral obligation and politicized identity, but they also had some effects above and beyond them.

    Ideology, Cross-Cultural

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  • The Roots of Morality.

    2008

    Miller, G.

    Science, 320, 734-737.

    Neurobiologists, philosophers, psychologists, and legal scholars are probing the nature of human morality using a variety of experimental techniques and moral challenges.

    Intro

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  • When and Why We See Victims as Responsible: The Impact of Ideology on Attitudes Toward Victims.

    2016

    Niemi, L., & Young, L.

    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42(9), 1227-1242.

    Why do victims sometimes receive sympathy for their suffering and at other times scorn and blame? Here we show a powerful role for moral values in attitudes toward victims. We measured moral values associated with unconditionally prohibiting harm (“individualizing values”) versus moral values associated with prohibiting behavior that destabilizes groups and relationships (“binding values”: loyalty, obedience to authority, and purity). Increased endorsement of binding values predicted increased ratings of victims as contaminated (Studies 1-4); increased blame and responsibility attributed to victims, increased perceptions of victims’ (versus perpetrators’) behaviors as contributing to the outcome, and decreased focus on perpetrators (Studies 2-3). Patterns persisted controlling for politics, just world beliefs, and right-wing authoritarianism. Experimentally manipulating linguistic focus off of victims and onto perpetrators reduced victim blame. Both binding values and focus modulated victim blame through victim responsibility attributions. Findings indicate the important role of ideology in attitudes toward victims via effects on responsibility attribution.

    Ideology, Empirical

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  • The congruency between moral foundations and intentions to donate, self-reported donations, and actual donations to charity.

    2016

    Nilsson, A., Erlandsson, A., & Vastfjall, D.

    Journal of Research in Personality. In Press.

    We extend past research on the congruency between moral foundations and morally relevant outcomes to ingroup- and outgroup-focused charitable giving. We measured intentions to donate to outgroup members (begging EU-migrants) and self-reported donations to ingroup (medical research) and outgroup (international aid) charity organizations in a heterogeneous sample (N = 1008) and actual donations to ingroup (cancer treatment) and outgroup (hunger relief) organizations in two experimental studies (N = 126; N = 200). Individualizing intuitions predicted helping in general across self-report and behavioral data. Binding intuitions predicted higher donations to ingroup causes, lower donations to outgroup causes, and less intentions to donate to outgroup members in the self-report data, and they predicted lower donations overall in the behavioral data.

    Cross-Cultural

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  • The Moral Foundations taxonomy: Structural validity and relation to political ideology in Sweden.

    2015

    Nilsson, A., & Erlandsson, A.

    Personality and Individual Differences, 76, 28-32.

    Although Moral Foundations Theory claims that the foundations of morality are universal, there are still few studies addressing it through non-English measures. In the current research, 540 persons filled out a Swedish translation of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire, and 332 of them filled out political attitude measures. Confirmatory factor analyses suggested that the fit of the five-factor model was better than alternative models but not optimal, replicating previous findings. Concerns with fairness and prevention of harm predicted political identity leftward, mediated mainly by preference for equality, and concerns with loyalty, authority, and sanctity predicted political identity rightward, mediated mainly by resistance to change and system justification, as hypothesized. Fairness and authority concerns were the best predictors of political ideology.

    Cross-Cultural, Ideology

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  • Articulating ideology: How liberals and conservatives justify political affiliations using morality-based explanations.

    2016

    Rempala, D. M., Okdie, B. M., & Garvey, K. J.

    Motivation and Emotion, 40(5), 703-719

    Two studies examined the degree to which participants’ were aware of their morality-based motivations when determining their political affiliations. Participants from the U.S. indicated what political party (if any) they affiliated with and explained their reasons for that affiliation. For participants who identified as “Liberal/Democrat” or “Conservative/Republican,” coders read the responses and identified themes associated with Moral Foundations Theory. In Study 1, thematic differences between liberals and conservatives paralleled previous research, although the extent of the disparities was more pronounced than expected, with the two groups showing little overlap. In Study 2, the actual influence of Moral Foundations (as measured by the Moral Foundations Questionnaire) was dramatically greater than was indicated by the coding of participants’ open-ended responses. In addition, actual disparities in use of Moral Foundations between liberals and conservatives were greater than participants’ stereotyped perceptions. We discuss how this research furthers our understanding of conscious motivations for political affiliation and can help to facilitate political discourse.

    Ideology, Empirical

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  • Moral values and increasing stakes in a dictator game.

    2016

    Schier, U. K., Ockenfels, A., & Hofmann, W.

    Journal of Economic Psychology, 56, 107-115.

    Using data from a large representative US sample (N = 1519), we compare hypothetical moral fairness values from the Moral Foundations Sacredness Scale with actual fairness behavior in an incentivized dictator game with either low or high stakes. We find that people with high moral fairness values fail to live up to their high fairness standards, when stake size increases. This violates principles from consistency theories according to which moral values are supposedly aligned with moral behavior, but is in line with temptation theories that question the absoluteness of morality values.

    Empirical

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  • Why Are Conservatives More Punitive Than Liberals? A Moral Foundations Approach.

    2017

    Silver, J.R. & Silver, E.

    Law and Human Behavior, Feb. 2, 2017.

    Morality is thought to underlie both ideological and punitive attitudes. In particular, moral foundations research suggests that group-oriented moral concerns promote a conservative orientation, while individual-oriented moral concerns promote a liberal orientation (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009). Drawing on classical sociological theory, we argue that endorsement of group-oriented moral concerns also elicits higher levels of punitiveness by promoting a view of crime as being perpetrated against society, while endorsement of individual-oriented moral concerns reduces punitiveness by directing attention toward the welfare of offenders as well as victims. Data from 2 independent samples (N = 1,464 and N = 1,025) showed that endorsement of group-oriented moral concerns was associated with more punitive and more conservative attitudes, while endorsement of individual-oriented moral concerns was associated with less punitive and less conservative attitudes. These results suggest that the association between conservatism and punitiveness is in part spurious because of their grounding in the moral foundations. Consequently, studies that do not take the moral foundations into account are at risk of overstating the relationship between conservatism and punitiveness.

    Ideology

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  • The Moral Ties That Bind . . . Even to Out-Groups: The Interactive Effect of Moral Identity and the Binding Moral Foundations.

    2014

    Smith, I. H., Aquino, K., Koleva, S., & Graham, J.

    Psychological Science, 25(8), 1554-1562.

    Throughout history, principles such as obedience, loyalty, and purity have been instrumental in binding people together and helping them thrive as groups, tribes, and nations. However, these same principles have also led to in-group favoritism, war, and even genocide. Does adhering to the binding moral foundations that underlie such principles unavoidably lead to the derogation of out-group members? We demonstrated that for people with a strong moral identity, the answer is “no,” because they are more likely than those with a weak moral identity to extend moral concern to people belonging to a perceived out-group. Across three studies, strongly endorsing the binding moral foundations indeed predicted support for the torture of out-group members (Studies 1a and 1b) and withholding of necessary help from out-group members (Study 2), but this relationship was attenuated among participants who also had a strong moral identity.

    Personality

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  • Nastiness, Morality and Religiosity in 33 nations.

    2016

    Stankov, L., & Lee, J.

    Personality and Individual Differences, 99, 56-66.

    This study aimed to identify the main dimensions of social attitudes across 33 countries. Altogether, 20 social attitude scales were administered, mostly to university students (N = 6938). A series of factor analyses showed that three factors exist at the pancultural level: Morality, Nastiness and Religiosity. Furthermore, Morality and Nastiness did not correlate with each other, but Religiosity correlated with both Morality and Nastiness. This suggests that one can be religious and both moral or nasty. Only one factor – Conservatism – emerged at the ecological level (i.e., between-countries analysis). The largest cross-cultural differences were found on the dimension of Religiosity, followed by Nastiness and then by Morality. The clear distinction emerged between South East Asia, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa on one hand, scoring high on all three factors, and Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Anglo regions on the other, scoring low on all three factors.

    Cross-Cultural, Ideology, Empirical

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  • The Influence of Morality Subcultures on the Acceptance and Appeal of Violence.

    2012

    Tamborini, R., Eden, A., Bowman, N. D., Grizzard, M., & Lachlan, K. A.

    Journal of Communication, 62, 136–157.

    Two studies examined how disposition theory-based morality subcultures predict the acceptance and appeal of violence. Study 1 used groups formed by median splits of individual difference variables (religiosity, aggression, and sex) thought to be trait correlates of morality subcultures in three 2 × 2 × 2 designs varying trait, perpetrator disposition (positive, negative), and motive (justified, unjustified) to predict the acceptance of violence in story resolutions for a scenario. Study 2 extended this design using domain-specific dimensions of morality from moral foundations theory (MFT) to predict perceptions of violent content and its appeal. The results suggest that morality subcultures predict response to violent drama and that dimensions of morality based on MFT offer a framework for defining morality subcultures.

    Personality

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  • Moral Intuition and Media Entertainment.

    2011

    Tamborini, R.

    Journal of Media Psychology, 23, 39-45.

    This paper applies the social intuitionist perspective of moral foundations theory (MFT) to the study of media entertainment. It begins by introducing the MFT’s conception of morality as an intuitive evaluative response governed by the association of moral codes organized in five mental modules. These include harm/care (concerned with suffering and empathy); fairness (related to reciprocity and justice); loyalty (dealing with common good and punitiveness toward outsiders); authority (negotiating dominance hierarchies); and purity (concerned with sanctity and contamination). After discussing initial tests examining MFT’s application to narrative appeal, and its potential broad application to entertainment theory, a model of intuitive morality and exemplars (MIME) is presented. The model describes long-term and short-term processes of reciprocal influence between media and moral intuition. In the long-term, the model predicts that repeated exposure to module-related content will lead to an individual and culturally-shared increase in the salience of specific modules and module exemplars. In the short-term, resulting patterns of module salience will affect the immediate appraisal of media content or, if content presents ambiguous or complex moral patterns, a delayed response though careful reappraisal. Patterns of positive or negative evaluative responses resulting from these appraisal processes are expected to shape individual and aggregate patterns of selective exposure to media, as well as the subsequent production of content within media systems driven by these exposure patterns. The paper concludes with an example of the model’s utility by showing how its short-term components can be applied to address conceptual difficulties in distinguishing enjoyment from appreciation.

    Ideology

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  • Tools from moral psychology for measuring personal moral culture.

    2014

    Vaisey, S., & Miles, A.

    Theory and Society, 43(3), 311-332.

    Moral culture can mean many things, but two major elements are a concern with moral goods and moral prohibitions. Moral psychologists have developed instruments for assessing both of these and such measures can be directly imported by sociologists. Work by Schwartz and his colleagues on values offers a well-established way of measuring moral goods, while researchers using Haidt’s Moral Foundations Theory have developed validated measures of moral prohibitions. Both values and moral foundations are distributed across the social landscape in systematic, sociologically interesting ways. Although typically measured using questionnaires, we show that values and moral foundations also can be used to analyze interview, archival, or “big data.” Combining psychological and sociological tools and frameworks promises to clarify relations among existing sociological treatments of moral culture and to connect such treatments to a thriving conversation in moral psychology.

    Measures

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  • Hierarchy, Dominance, and Deliberation: Egalitarian Values Require Mental Effort.

    2015

    Van Berkel, L., Crandall, C. S., Eidelman, S., & Blanchar, J. C.

    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(9), 1207-1222.

    Hierarchy and dominance are ubiquitous. Because social hierarchy is early learned and highly rehearsed, the value of hierarchy enjoys relative ease over competing egalitarian values. In six studies, we interfere with deliberate thinking and measure endorsement of hierarchy and egalitarianism. In Study 1, bar patrons’ blood alcohol content was correlated with hierarchy preference. In Study 2, cognitive load increased the authority/hierarchy moral foundation. In Study 3, low-effort thought instructions increased hierarchy endorsement and reduced equality endorsement. In Study 4, ego depletion increased hierarchy endorsement and caused a trend toward reduced equality endorsement. In Study 5, low-effort thought instructions increased endorsement of hierarchical attitudes among those with a sense of low personal power. In Study 6, participants’ thinking quickly allocated more resources to high-status groups. Across five operationalizations of impaired deliberative thought, hierarchy endorsement increased and egalitarianism receded. These data suggest hierarchy may persist in part because it has a psychological advantage.

    Empirical

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  • Moral concerns across the United States: Associations with life-history variables, pathogen prevalence, urbanization, cognitive ability, and social class.

    2014

    Van Leeuwen, F., Koenig, B. L., Graham, J., & Park, J. H.

    Evolution and Human Behavior, 35(6), 464-471.

    This study evaluated the extent to which predictions derived from several theories could account for variability in human moral values across US states. We investigated moral values as conceptualized by Moral Foundations Theory, which argues that morality evolved in response to adaptive challenges in at least five domains: Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, Purity/sanctity ("binding" foundations) and Harm/care, Fairness/reciprocity ("individualizing" foundations). We report correlations for measures of cognitive ability, social class, urbanization, pathogen prevalence, life expectancy, and teenage birth rates. Social class and educational attainment had fairly consistent but small effects across moral foundations (social class: positively associated with Ingroup/loyalty, negatively with individualizing foundations and Purity/sanctity; education: positively associated with individualizing foundations, negatively with binding foundations). We conducted multilevel regressions that were stratified for ethnicity. The most consistent state-level predictor of moral values was teenage birth rates (negatively associated with individualizing foundations, positively with binding foundations). This suggests that life-history theory may provide an explanation for individual differences in moral values, although the directions of effects for teenage birth rates diverged from predictions of life-history theory. We conclude that none of the tested theories provides a good explanation for the observed variability in moral values in the USA. We discuss how a life-history approach might account for the findings, and note the need for improved measurement of pathogen stress to better distinguish its effects from those of life-history variables.

    Empirical, Personality

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  • Regional variation in pathogen prevalence predicts endorsement of group-focused moral concerns.

    2012

    Van Leeuwen, F., Park, J. H., Koenig, B. L., & Graham, J.

    Evolution and Human Behavior, 33(5), 429-437.

    According to Moral Foundations Theory, people endorse “individualizing” foundations (Harm/care, Fairness/reciprocity) or “binding” foundations (Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, Purity/sanctity) to varying degrees. As societies with higher pathogen prevalence have been found to exhibit more pronounced antipathogen psychological tendencies and cultural practices (e.g., conformity, collectivism), we hypothesized that pathogen prevalence may predict endorsement of the binding moral foundations, which may also serve to minimize pathogen transmission. We examined associations between historical and contemporary pathogen prevalence and endorsement of the moral foundations via multilevel analyses. Country-level analyses showed that even when controlling for gross domestic product per capita, historical (but not contemporary) pathogen prevalence significantly predicted endorsement of the binding foundations, but not individualizing foundations. Multilevel analyses showed that this pattern held even when controlling for individual-level variation in political orientation, gender, education, and age. These results highlight the utility of a functional–evolutionary approach to understanding patterns of morals across societies and individuals.

    Empirical

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  • Perceptions of social dangers, moral foundations, and political orientation.

    2009

    Van Leeuwen, F., & Park, J. H.

    Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 169-173.

    What underlies people’s tendency to be politically liberal or conservative? Conservatism has been explained as being a consequence of fear- and anxiety-related variables and, recently, of emphasizing moral foundations pertaining to group loyalty, respect for authority, and purity (which are referred to as the “binding” foundations, as opposed to the “individualizing” foundations pertaining to justice and care). Aiming to integrate these two explanations of political orientation, we conducted a study in which 140 students in the Netherlands completed the belief in a dangerous world scale, the moral foundations questionnaire, and explicit and implicit measures of political orientation. Consistent with previous research, both higher perceptions of social dangers and greater emphases on the binding moral foundations (relative to the individualizing foundations) were associated with explicitly and implicitly measured conservatism. More importantly, there was evidence that a “conservative pattern” of moral attitudes mediates the relationship between perceived social dangers and political conservatism. By integrating conceptually distinct explanations, the present findings take initial steps toward a more complete picture of what underlies individual differences in political orientation.

    Ideology, Empirical

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  • The Five Moral Foundations Sacredness Scale in men in court-mandated treatment for violently abusing their partners.

    2014

    Vecina, M. L.

    Personality and Individual Differences, 64, 46-51.

    This paper examines the Intimate Partner Violence through the lens of the Moral Foundations Theory in an attempt to better understand the connections between sacredness and violence. Specifically, it aims to explore the usefulness of the Moral Foundations Sacredness Scale in a sample of 300 men convicted of domestic violence and to determine the existence of a distinctive profile based on the degree to which they sacralize the five moral foundations. Results show that the sacredness scale presents the hypothesized psychometric properties to be used in such specific sample. They also show that controlling for gender and political orientation men convicted of domestic violence have a clear tendency to sacralize the five moral foundations. The Authority foundation significantly discriminates between violent and non-violent participants while the Purity foundation emerges as a significant predictor of self-reported behaviors and beliefs tapping violence within the violent group.

    Personality

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  • Mirrored morality: an exploration of moral choice in video games.

    2012

    Weaver, A. J., & Lewis, N.

    Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(11), 610-4.

    This exploratory study was designed to examine how players make moral choices in video games and what effects these choices have on emotional responses to the games. Participants (n=75) filled out a moral foundations questionnaire (MFQ) and then played through the first full act of the video game Fallout 3. Game play was recorded and content analyzed for the moral decisions made. Players also reported their enjoyment of and emotional reactions to the game and reflected on the decisions they made. The majority of players made moral decisions and behaved toward the nonplayer game characters they encountered as if these were actual interpersonal interactions. Individual differences in decision making were predicted by the MFQ. Behaving in antisocial ways did increase guilt, but had no impact on enjoyment.

    Personality

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  • The evolutionary significance of Red Sox nation: sport fandom as a by-product of coalitional psychology.

    2010

    Winegard, B., & Deaner, R. O.

    Evolutionary Psychology, 8(3), 432-46.

    Sport fandom has received considerable attention from social scientists, yet few have considered it from an evolutionary perspective. To redress this gap, we develop the hypothesis that team sports exhibit characteristics that activate mechanisms which evolved to facilitate the development of coalitions in the context of small-scale warfare. Based on this by-product hypothesis, we predicted a correlation between fandom and binding (i.e. group-relevant) concerns, especially loyalty. To test this prediction, we administered the Sport Spectator Identification Scale (SSI) and the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ) to 495 undergraduates. The MFQ measures three binding concerns, including loyalty, and two individualizing ones, harm and fairness. As predicted, fandom correlated significantly with loyalty (r = .27) and, within men, the two other binding concerns, authority (r =.22) and purity (r = .24). By contrast, fandom did not significantly correlate with harm or fairness. In addition, we predicted and found that men reported significantly higher levels of fandom (Cohen's d =.45) and loyalty (d = .27) than did women. In conclusion, this study presents data supporting the coalitional by-product hypothesis of fandom and should spur further research using fandom as a window into our evolved psychology.

    Personality

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  • How political identity and charity positioning increase donations: Insights from Moral Foundations Theory.

    2012

    Winterich, K. P., Zhang, Y., & Mittal, V.

    International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29(4), 346-354.

    Marketers can strategically target potential donors based on their political identity. Drawing upon the moral foundations underlying political identity, we examine conditions in which a charity's positioning increases donations based on its alignment with a political identity. In doing so, we demonstrate the moderating role of moral identity internalization, which is a robust predictor of donation behavior. In three studies, our results reveal that when the moral foundations of a charity, as evidenced by the charity's management processes (Study 1) or mission (Studies 2 and 3), are aligned with the donor's political identity, donations increase. This effect is enhanced among those with higher moral identity internalization. These results offer theoretical contributions, as well as practical implications, for organizations soliciting donations, providing insight into the extent to which charity positioning based on moral foundations can differentially influence donations based on political identity.

    Ideology

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  • Red, white, and blue enough to be green: Effects of moral framing on climate change attitudes and conservation behaviors.

    2016

    Wolsko, C., Ariceaga, H., & Seiden, J.

    Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 65, 7-19.

    Widespread political polarization on issues related to environmental conservation may be partially explained by the chronic framing of persuasive messages in ideological and moral terms that hold greater appeal for liberals and egalitarians. A series of three experiments examined the extent to which variations in the moral framing of pro-environmental messaging affect liberals' vs. conservatives' conservation intentions, climate change attitudes, and donations to an environmental organization. While liberals did not generally differ across conditions, conservatives shifted substantially in the pro-environmental direction after exposure to a binding moral frame, in which protecting the natural environment was portrayed as a matter of obeying authority, defending the purity of nature, and demonstrating one's patriotism to the United States. This shift was pronounced when conservatives perceived the congruent appeal to be a stronger argument. Evidence of mediated moderation is also presented, in which the attitudinal and behavioral shifts for conservatives were a function of the degree to which the values present in the pro-environmental appeal were perceived as coming from the ingroup. Discussion focuses on future directions for more precisely specifying moral framing effects, and on considering the pros and cons of targeted messaging for the sustainability of environmental attitude change.

    Ideology, Empirical

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