Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations

Graham, J., Haidt, J. & Nosek, B.A. (in press). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Abstract: How and why do moral judgments vary across the political spectrum? To test moral foundations theory (Haidt & Joseph, 2004; Haidt & Graham, 2007), we developed several ways to measure people’s use of five sets of moral intuitions: Harm/care, Fairness/reciprocity, Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, and Purity/sanctity. Across four studies using multiple methods, liberals consistently showed greater endorsement and use of the Harm/care and Fairness/reciprocity foundations compared to the other three foundations, whereas conservatives endorsed and used the five 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 tradeoffs (Study 3), and use of foundation-related words in the moral texts of religious sermons (Study 4). These findings help to illuminate the nature and intractability of moral disagreements in the American “culture war.”


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(My publication)Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2009 by jgraha25
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