Moral Transgressions
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Cognition ◽  
2021 ◽  
Vol 217 ◽  
pp. 104886
Author(s):  
Laura K. Soter ◽  
Martha K. Berg ◽  
Susan A. Gelman ◽  
Ethan Kross
Keyword(s):  

2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Jack Thompson

Trump’s unwavering support among White Evangelicals - among whom many believe that Trump was also ordained by God - seems a contradiction considering his seeming irreligiosity and well publicized moral transgressions. To explain this contradiction, I use data from the American Trends Panel (ATP) to test whether White Evangelicals exhibit strong preferences for elite religiosity, and whether they evaluate Trump as being particularly religious. I find that White Evangelicals exhibit strong, generalized preferences for elite religiosity. However, when it comes to specific evaluations of Trump, White Evangelicals appear to be largely indifferent to whether or not Trump is religious. I also find that White Evangelicals who encounter threats to their religious identities are especially likely to believe that Trump was ordained by God to be President. Therefore, one explanation for this seeming indifference is Trump’s ability to speak to White Evangelicals who feel as though their beliefs are becoming marginalized in an increasingly religiously plural America. These findings demonstrate that Trump is a unique case when it comes to the effects of religiosity identity on elite evaluations, and provide a new vantage point for understanding why so many White Evangelicals support Trump despite the fact they are indifferent to his irreligiosity.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Zachariah Berry ◽  
Ike Silver ◽  
Alex Shaw

Loyalty to one’s co-workers and friends is an important moral value that benefits and strengthens employee relationships. Yet, an employee’s loyalty-based obligations may be tested when they witness a friend engage in wrongdoing that could negatively impact their organization. Across five pre-registered studies (N = 1,089), we examine how relationship-based loyalty obligations impact how people evaluate an employee who decides to snitch or not snitch after witnessing another employee’s transgressions. We consistently find that a witness who snitches (vs. doesn’t snitch) is seen as more moral, more hirable, and as having higher leadership potential (Studies 1-4b) and that this effect is insensitive to relationship-based loyalty obligations (i.e., whether the transgressor and witness are friends; Studies 2 and 3). We also demonstrate that snitches are not seen as more moral when snitching on non-moral transgressions (Study 3) and that the benefits of snitching for perceived moral character are moderated if the witness somehow benefits from turning in the wrongdoer, suggesting that their behavior is selfishly motivated (Study 4a–4b). Of course, snitching is not costless: in all of our studies, snitching on friends makes one appear disloyal and a bad potential friend. These results highlight important instances where fulfilling loyalty-obligations is not a part of what it means to be a moral person. We discuss implications for loyalty, moral psychology, and whistleblowing, as well as the practical implications for organizations.


2021 ◽  
pp. 001391652110146
Author(s):  
Silvia Collado ◽  
Rocío Rodríguez-Rey ◽  
Miguel A. Sorrel

The current research asks whether children’s judgments of harmful actions toward animals depend on animals’ perceived attractiveness. In Study 1, primary school children ( N = 359) rated the perceived attractiveness of six animals and judged how severe it is to hurt them, as compared to moral transgressions, social-conventional transgressions, and personal choices. Hurting attractive animals was perceived as severe as hurting another child, while hurting unattractive animals was evaluated as less serious than social-conventional transgressions. In Study 2, we experimentally tested whether the attractiveness of animals rated as unattractive in Study 1 could be influenced by an environmental education intervention. After the intervention, children in the experimental group ( N = 21) rated unattractive animals as more attractive than before the intervention, and this led to judging harming these animals more severely than before the intervention. No changes were found in the control group ( N = 20).


2021 ◽  
Vol 19 (2) ◽  
pp. 147470492110215
Author(s):  
Robert K. Henderson ◽  
Simone Schnall

Prior research has indicated that disease threat and disgust are associated with harsher moral condemnation. We investigated the role of a specific, highly salient health concern, namely the spread of the coronavirus, and associated COVID-19 disease, on moral disapproval. We hypothesized that individuals who report greater subjective worry about COVID-19 would be more sensitive to moral transgressions. Across three studies ( N = 913), conducted March-May 2020 as the pandemic started to unfold in the United States, we found that individuals who were worried about contracting the infectious disease made harsher moral judgments than those who were relatively less worried. This effect was not restricted to transgressions involving purity, but extended to transgressions involving harm, fairness, authority, and loyalty, and remained when controlling for political orientation. Furthermore, for Studies 1 and 2 the effect also was robust when taking into account the contamination subscale of the Disgust Scale–Revised. These findings add to the growing literature that concrete threats to health can play a role in abstract moral considerations, supporting the notion that judgments of wrongdoing are not based on rational thought alone.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Flora Schwartz ◽  
Hakim Djeriouat ◽  
Bastien Trémolière

Although recent research in the moral judgment field has explored third-party judgment, much less is known as to how personality influences these judgments. The present preregistered study addresses this issue by exploring the influence of various personality traits, namely honesty-humility, emotionality, and conscientiousness. Adult participants recruited online (N = 405) read short narratives describing the interaction between two protagonists (“agent” and “victim”). We manipulated the intent of the agent (intent to harm or not) and the outcome for the victim (harmful consequences or no harm). Participants indicated the extent to which they perceived the agent’s behavior as acceptable and blameworthy, and how much punishment they felt the agent deserved, before filling the HEXACO questionnaire. Our results point to a moderate role of honesty-humility, emotionality, and conscientiousness on acceptability of the agent’s behavior, with their relative weight depending upon the type of moral transgression. While higher honesty-humility scores were associated with lower acceptability of moral transgressions overall, higher emotionality was associated with reduced acceptability when the agent attempted to harm, and higher conscientiousness was associated with lower acceptability ratings only when the agent harmed intentionally. We also found a moderate effect of extraversion and emotionality on decisions of punishment and blame of an agent who harmed or attempted to harm. The results suggest that third-party moral judgment is modestly, yet selectively modulated by personality traits and the type of moral transgression.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Margarida Vasconcelos ◽  
Essi Viding ◽  
Catherine L. Sebastian ◽  
Susana Faria ◽  
Pedro R. Almeida ◽  
...  

Callous-unemotional (CU) traits observed during childhood and adolescence are thought to be precursors of psychopathic traits in adulthood. Adults with high levels of psychopathic traits typically present antisocial behavior. Such behavior can be indicative of atypical moral processing. Evidence suggests that moral dysfunction in these individuals may stem from a disruption of affective components of moral processing rather than from an inability to compute moral judgments per se. No study to date has tested if the dissociation between affective and cognitive dimensions of moral processing linked to psychopathic traits in adulthood is also linked to CU traits during development. Here, 47 typically developing adolescents with varying levels of CU traits completed a novel, animated cartoon task depicting everyday moral transgressions and indicated how they would feel in such situations and how morally wrong the situations were. Adolescents with higher CU traits reported reduced anticipated guilt and wrongness appraisals of the transgressions. However, our key finding was a significant interaction between CU traits and anticipated guilt in predicting wrongness judgments. The strength of the association between anticipated guilt and wrongness judgement was significantly weaker for those with higher levels of CU traits. This evidence extends our knowledge on the cognitive-affective processing deficits that may underlie moral dysfunction in youth who are at heightened risk for antisocial behavior and psychopathy in adulthood. Future longitudinal research is required to elucidate whether there is an increased dissociation between different components of moral processing from adolescence to adulthood for those with high psychopathic traits.


2021 ◽  
Author(s):  
Cindel White ◽  
Mark Schaller ◽  
Elizabeth G. Abraham ◽  
Josh Rottman

Three studies (N = 867) investigated how adults’ and children’s punitive responses to moral transgressions differ depending on whether transgressors are adults or children. Adults judged the transgressions of fellow adults as substantially more wrong, and as more worthy of avoidance and punishment, than identical actions performed by children. This difference was partially mediated by the perception that adults’ actions are considered to be more wrong, more harmful, and stranger than children’s identical actions, and by greater anxiety about the negative consequences of confronting adults about their bad behavior. Despite viewing children’s actions as less wrong, adults were more likely to reprimand children than adults who engaged in identical behavior, and this difference became more pronounced when statistically controlling for the wrongness and strangeness of actions. Adults’ nurturant tendencies towards children, as well as their perceptions of children’s moral character as more changeable, also predicted relatively greater reprimand and less avoidance of child transgressors. These differences between reprimand and avoidance of child and adult transgressors was robust to the type of transgression (including harm- and purity-related norms), several individual differences, and a global pandemic. In contrast, 4- to 9-year-old children were equally likely to avoid and reprimand adult and child transgressors, suggesting that different processes are engaged when adults judge children compared to when children evaluate their own peers. Together, these findings indicate how diverse responses to moral transgressions are differentially adapted for norm violators of different ages.


2020 ◽  
pp. 074355842097912
Author(s):  
Jianjin Liu ◽  
Allegra J. Midgette

The aim of this study was to explore Chinese adolescent’s social and moral transgressions and strategies for self-correction. For this study, following protocols that have been approved by an Institutional Review Board, 61 Chinese adolescents living in Guangzhou—distributed across three age groups: 10- to 11-year-olds ( N = 21, Mage = 11.03 years, SD = 0.43 years), 12- to 13-year-olds ( N = 20, Mage = 12.92 years, SD = 0.35 years), and 15- to 16-year-olds ( N = 20, Mage = 16.15 years, SD = 0.30 years)—participated in one-on-one semi-structured interviews. The study employed a deductive analytical approach based on prior social domain research on children’s and adolescents’ transgressions and strategies for self-correction. This study found that Chinese youth reported conventional transgression events more frequently than any other domain. Moreover, many of adolescents’ transgressions involved academic considerations, suggesting that how adolescents’ time is organized and the social expectations for adolescent behavior influence the types of transgressions and justifications adolescents will make. Furthermore, participants reported developing self-correcting strategies following 73.6% of events, while 74.5% of strategies were reported to be developed by the adolescents themselves. Therefore, the findings suggest that there is room for adults to collaborate with adolescents in developing strategies to prevent future misbehavior and to encourage youth to not only be “good” or “moral” but also to be and do better.


Autism ◽  
2020 ◽  
Vol 24 (8) ◽  
pp. 2202-2212
Author(s):  
Erin E Dempsey ◽  
Chris Moore ◽  
Annie E Richard ◽  
Isabel M Smith

Morality is important for how humans treat each other and non-human animals. Differences in moral reasoning have been found between autistic and neurotypical individuals. Research in this area has relied on accounts of moral psychology that suggest increasingly mature moral principles that develop from taking the perspectives of others. Yet, even autistic individuals, who sometimes differ in their ability to take others’ perspectives, make moral judgements that are similar to neurotypical individuals. Moral foundations theory suggests that moral psychology is not hierarchical but differs depending on culture. Moral foundations theory has not yet been investigated among autistic individuals. This qualitative study used interviews and qualitative analysis as a first attempt at understanding how moral foundations theory fits with autistic moral thinking. We found that all five moral foundations of moral foundations theory were represented in the interviews, yet certain foundations appeared more prominent than others. The autistic adults interviewed in our study discussed issues of care and fairness more than of loyalty, authority or purity when prompted to discuss moral transgressions. Future research should use quantitative methods to compare groups of autistic and neurotypical individuals to clarify similarities and differences in moral thinking between the groups. Lay abstract Morality is important for how humans treat each other and non-human animals. Differences in moral thinking have been found between autistic and neurotypical individuals. This research has relied on ways of thinking about moral psychology that suggest that mature morals develop as individuals learn to take the perspectives of others. Yet, even autistic individuals, who sometimes differ in their ability to take others’ perspectives, make moral judgements that are similar to neurotypical individuals. Moral foundations theory suggests that moral psychology is not hierarchical but differs depending on culture. This theory could therefore help make sense of similarities and differences in autistic and neurotypical moral thinking. Moral foundations theory has not yet been investigated among autistic individuals. In this study, we interviewed autistic adults as a first attempt at understanding how moral foundations theory fits with autistic moral thinking. We found that all five moral foundations of moral foundations theory were represented in the interviews, yet certain foundations appeared more prominent than others. The autistic adults interviewed in our study discussed issues of care and fairness more than of loyalty, authority or purity when prompted to discuss moral transgressions. Future research should use quantitative methods to compare groups of autistic and neurotypical individuals to clarify similarities and differences in moral thinking between the groups.


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