The Effect of Ideological Identification on the Endorsement of Moral Values Depends on the Target Group.
ABSTRACT: Research suggests that liberals and conservatives use different moral foundations to reason about moral issues (moral divide hypothesis). An alternative prediction is that observed ideological differences in moral foundations are instead driven by ingroup-versus-outgroup categorizations of competing political groups (political group conflict hypothesis). In two preregistered experiments (total N = 958), using experimentally manipulated measures of moral foundations, we test strong versions of both hypotheses and find partial support for both. Supporting the moral divide hypothesis, conservatives endorsed the binding foundations more strongly than liberals even when a moderate target group was explicitly specified. Supporting the political group conflict hypothesis, both conservatives and liberals endorsed moral foundations more when moral acts targeted ingroup versus outgroup members. These results have implications for improving measures of moral values and judgments and point to ways to enhance the effectiveness of strategies aimed at building bridges between people from different political camps.
Project description:Moral foundations research suggests that liberals care about moral values related to individual rights such as harm and fairness, while conservatives care about those foundations in addition to caring more about group rights such as loyalty, authority, and purity. However, the question remains about how conservatives and liberals differ in relation to group-level moral principles. We used two versions of the moral foundations questionnaire with the target group being either abstract or specific ingroups or outgroups. Across three studies, we observed that liberals showed more endorsement of Individualizing foundations (Harm and Fairness foundations) with an outgroup target, while conservatives showed more endorsement of Binding foundations (Loyalty, Authority, and Purity foundations) with an ingroup target. This general pattern was found when the framed, target-group was abstract (i.e., 'ingroups' and 'outgroups' in Study 1) and when target groups were specified about a general British-ingroup and an immigrant-outgroup (Studies 2 and 3). In Studies 2 and 3, both Individualizing-Ingroup Preference and Binding-Ingroup Preference scores predicted more Attitude Bias and more Negative Attitude Bias toward immigrants (Studies 2 and 3), more Implicit Bias (Study 3), and more Perceived Threat from immigrants (Studies 2 and 3). We also demonstrated that increasing liberalism was associated with less Attitude Bias and less Negative Bias toward immigrants (Studies 2 and 3), less Implicit Bias (Study 3), and less Perceived Threat from immigrants (Studies 2 and 3). Outgroup-individualizing foundations and Ingroup-Binding foundations showed different patterns of mediation of these effects.
Project description:Two studies explored the relationship between political ideology and endorsement of a range of moral principles. Political liberals and conservatives did not differ on intrapersonal or interpersonal moralities, which require self-regulation. However differences emerged on collective moralities, which involve social regulation. Contrary to Moral Foundations Theory, both liberals and conservatives endorsed a group-focused binding morality, specifically Social Justice and Social Order respectively. Libertarians were the group without a binding morality. Although Social Justice and Social Order appear conflictual, analyses based on earlier cross-cultural work on societal tightness-looseness suggest that countries actually benefit in terms of economic success and societal well-being when these group-based moralities co-exist and serve as counterweights in social regulation.
Project description: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 ([Formula: see text]). 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.
Project description:We use network psychometrics to map a subsection of moral belief systems predicted by moral foundations theory (MFT). This approach conceptualizes moral systems as networks, with moral beliefs represented as nodes connected by direct relations. As such, it advances a novel test of MFT's claim that liberals and conservatives have different systems of foundational moral values, which we test in three large datasets (<i>N</i><sub>Sample1</sub> = 854; <i>N</i><sub>Sample2</sub> = 679; <i>N</i><sub>Sample3</sub> = 2,572), from two countries (the United States and New Zealand). Results supported our first hypothesis that liberals' moral systems show more segregation between individualizing and binding foundations than conservatives. Results showed only weak support for our second hypothesis, that this pattern would be more typical of higher educated than less educated liberals/conservatives. Findings support a systems approach to MFT and show the value of modeling moral belief systems as networks.
Project description:Previous research has studied the relationship between political ideology and cognitive biases, such as the tendency of conservatives to form stronger illusory correlations between negative infrequent behaviors and minority groups. We further explored these findings by studying the relation between illusory correlation and moral values. According to the moral foundations theory, liberals and conservatives differ in the relevance they concede to different moral dimensions: Care, Fairness, Loyalty, Authority, and Purity. Whereas liberals consistently endorse the Care and Fairness foundations more than the Loyalty, Authority and Purity foundations, conservatives tend to adhere to the five foundations alike. In the present study, a group of participants took part in a standard illusory correlation task in which they were presented with randomly ordered descriptions of either desirable or undesirable behaviors attributed to individuals belonging to numerically different majority and minority groups. Although the proportion of desirable and undesirable behaviors was the same in the two groups, participants attributed a higher frequency of undesirable behaviors to the minority group, thus showing the expected illusory correlation effect. Moreover, this effect was specifically associated to our participants' scores in the Loyalty subscale of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. These results emphasize the role of the Loyalty moral foundation in the formation of attitudes towards minorities among conservatives. Our study points out the moral system as a useful fine-grained framework to explore the complex interaction between basic cognitive processes and ideology.
Project description:According to moral foundations theory, there are five distinct sources of moral intuition on which political liberals and conservatives differ. The present research program seeks to contextualize this taxonomy within the broader research literature on political ideology as motivated social cognition, including the observation that conservative judgments often serve system-justifying functions. In two studies, a combination of regression and path modeling techniques were used to explore the motivational underpinnings of ideological differences in moral intuitions. Consistent with our integrative model, the "binding" foundations (in-group loyalty, respect for authority, and purity) were associated with epistemic and existential needs to reduce uncertainty and threat and system justification tendencies, whereas the so-called "individualizing" foundations (fairness and avoidance of harm) were generally unrelated to epistemic and existential motives and were instead linked to empathic motivation. Taken as a whole, these results are consistent with the position taken by Hatemi, Crabtree, and Smith that moral "foundations" are themselves the product of motivated social cognition.
Project description:Moral reframing involves crafting persuasive arguments that appeal to the targets' moral values but argue in favor of something they would typically oppose. Applying this technique to one of the most politically polarizing events-political campaigns-we hypothesized that messages criticizing one's preferred political candidate that also appeal to that person's moral values can decrease support for the candidate. We tested this claim in the context of the 2016 American presidential election. In Study 1, conservatives reading a message opposing Donald Trump grounded in a more conservative value (loyalty) supported him less than conservatives reading a message grounded in more liberal concerns (fairness). In Study 2, liberals reading a message opposing Hillary Clinton appealing to fairness values were less supportive of Clinton than liberals in a loyalty-argument condition. These results highlight how moral reframing can be used to overcome the rigid stances partisans often hold and help develop political acceptance.
Project description:Children's movies often provide messages about morally appropriate and inappropriate conduct. In two studies, we draw on Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) to derive predictions about actual depictions of morality, and people's preferences for different moral depictions, within children's movies. According to MFT, people's moral concerns include individualizing foundations of care and fairness and binding foundations of loyalty, authority, and sanctity. Prior work reveals that although there are political differences in the endorsement of these two broad categories-whereby stronger political conservatism predicts stronger binding concerns and weaker individualizing concerns-there nonetheless is broad agreement across political identity in the importance of individualizing concerns. We therefore predicted that heroes would value individualizing foundations more than villains, and that despite political differences in preferences for moral messages, there would be more agreement in the importance of messages promoting individualizing concerns. In Study 1, we coded heroes and villains from popular children's movies for their valuation of moral foundations. Heroes valued individualizing concerns more, and binding concerns less, than villains did. Participants in Study 2 considered moral dilemmas faced by children's movie characters, and rated their preferences for resolutions that promoted either individualizing or binding foundations. Although liberals preferred individualizing-promoting resolutions and conservatives preferred binding-promoting resolutions, there was stronger agreement across political identity in the importance of individualizing concerns. Despite political differences in moral preferences, popular depictions of children's movie characters and people's self-reported moral endorsement suggest a shared belief in the importance of the individualizing moral virtues of care and fairness. Movies are often infused with moral messages. From their exploration of overarching themes, their ascription of particular traits to heroic and villainous characters, and their resolution of pivotal moral dilemmas, movies provide viewers with depictions of morally virtuous (and morally suspect) behavior. Moral messaging in children's movies is of particular importance, since it is targeted at an audience for which morality is actively developing. What moral messages do filmmakers (and consumers, including parents) want children's movies to depict? Are these preferences related to people's political identity? And what are the actual moral depictions presented in movies? In the present two studies, we draw on an influential theory of moral judgment-Moral Foundations Theory-to develop and test predictions about the depiction of morality in children's movies.
Project description:The political divide between liberals and conservatives has become quite large and stable, and there appear to be many reasons for disagreements on a wide range of issues. The current research sought to explain these divides and to extend the Uncertainty-Threat Model to intergroup relations, which predicts that more dispositional, perceived-threat and uncertainty-avoidance will be related to more political conservatism. Given that conservatism is also often related to more negativity to low-status groups such as immigrants, the relationship between political ideology and negative attitudes toward immigrants may be mediated by more threat and uncertainty-avoidance. Study 1 tested this mediational hypothesis in a correlational design and showed that both uncertainty-avoidance and perceived realistic and symbolic threat significantly mediated the relationship between political ideology and attitudes toward immigrants, and that perceived threat was the more influential mediator. Study 2 extended threat management to perceived threats from unspecified outgroups, as opposed to the immigrant outgroup, and it replicated all significant mediations. Study 3 replicated the mediations observed in Studies 1 and 2 for political ideology to attitudes toward immigrants with uncertainty-avoidance and perceived threat from immigrants as mediators; it further replicated the mediations to the negative attitudes measure that had been used in Study 2 and it extended it to an objective and indirect bias measure [i.e., Affect Misattribution Procedure (AMP)]. Overall, almost all of the results supported the idea that perceived threat and uncertainty-avoidance both mediate the relationship between political ideology and attitudes toward immigrants, and that threat management, as opposed to negativity bias, may be a central concern separating liberals and conservatives. Within all three studies, we also observed more evidence for the Uncertainty-Threat Model predictions than we did for the alternative Extremity Hypothesis, which predicted a quadratic relationship between political ideology and threat and uncertainty, and between political ideology and attitudes toward immigrants.
Project description:Despite the scientific consensus, some people still remain skeptical about climate change. In fact, there is a growing partisan divide over the last decade within the United States in the support for climate policies. Given the same climate evidence, why do some people become concerned while others remain unconvinced? Here we propose a motivated attention framework where socio-political motivations shape visual attention to climate evidence, altering perceptions of the evidence and subsequent actions to mitigate climate change. To seek support for this framework, we conducted three experiments. Participants viewed a graph of annual global temperature change while they were eyetracked and estimated the average change. We found that political orientation may bias attention to climate change evidence, altering the perception of the same evidence (Experiment 1). We further examined how attentional biases influence subsequent actions to mitigate climate change. We found that liberals were more likely to sign a climate petition or more willing to donate to an environmental organization than conservatives, and attention guides climate actions in different ways for liberals and conservatives (Experiment 2). To seek causal evidence, we biased attention to different parts of the temperature curve by coloring stronger climate evidence in red or weak climate evidence in red. We found that liberals were more likely to sign the petition or more willing to donate when stronger evidence was in red, but conservatives were less likely to act when stronger evidence was in red (Experiment 3). This suggests that drawing attention to motivationally consistent information increases actions in liberals, but discouraged conservatives. The findings provide initial preliminary evidence for the motivated attention framework, suggesting an attentional divide between liberals and conservatives in the perception of climate evidence. This divide might further reinforce prior beliefs about climate change, creating further polarization. The current study raises a possible attentional mechanism for ideologically motivated reasoning and its impact on basic perceptual processes. It also provides implications for the communication of climate science to different socio-political groups with the goal of mobilizing actions on climate change.