Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2120724
 
 

References (39)



 


 



The Cultural Salience of Moral Character and Virtue Declined in Twentieth Century America


Pelin Kesebir


University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Investigating Healthy Minds

Selin Kesebir


London Business School

2012

Journal of Positive Psychology, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
In a large corpus of American books, we tracked how frequently words related to moral excellence and virtue appeared over the 20th century. Considering the well-established cultural trend in the United States toward greater individualism and its implications for the moral domain, we predicted that morality and virtue terms would appear with diminishing frequency in American books. Two studies supported our predictions: Study 1 showed a decline in the use of general moral terms such as virtue, decency, and conscience throughout the 20th century. In Study 2, we examined the appearance frequency of 50 virtue words (e.g., honesty, patience, compassion) and found a significant decline for 74% of them. Overall, our findings suggest that during the 20th century, moral ideals and virtues have largely waned from the public conversation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 25

Keywords: virtue, morality, moral character, values, culture, culturomics

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: July 31, 2012 ; Last revised: August 15, 2012

Suggested Citation

Kesebir, Pelin and Kesebir, Selin, The Cultural Salience of Moral Character and Virtue Declined in Twentieth Century America (2012). Journal of Positive Psychology, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2120724

Contact Information

Pelin Kesebir (Contact Author)
University of Wisconsin - Madison - Center for Investigating Healthy Minds ( email )
1500 Highland Avenue, Suite S119
Waisman Center
Madison, WI 53705-2280
United States
Selin Kesebir
London Business School ( email )
Regent's Park
NW1 4SA
London
United Kingdom
HOME PAGE: http://people.virginia.edu/~sk8dm
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,816
Downloads: 289
Download Rank: 61,830
References:  39

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo2 in 0.312 seconds