Warning Bell: Liberals Implicitly Respond to Group Morality Before Rejecting it Explicitly

59 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2012  

Jesse Graham

University of Southern California

Zoe Englander

University of Virginia

James P. Morris

University of Virginia

Carlee Beth Hawkins

University of Virginia

Jonathan Haidt

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Brian A. Nosek

University of Virginia

Date Written: May 31, 2012

Abstract

Moral Foundations Theory (Haidt & Graham, 2007) explains the intractability of many political disagreements as the result of liberals and conservatives reacting to different patterns of intuitive moral concerns. Research using self-report measures has shown that liberals endorse the Care/harm and Fairness/cheating foundations but generally do not endorse the Loyalty/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation foundations, while conservatives endorse all five types of moral concerns (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009). Research on ideology and implicit attitudes (Jost, Federico, & Napier, 2010; Jost, Nosek, & Gosling, 2008) suggests that liberals may have more of a discrepancy between implicit reactions and endorsed attitudes than do conservatives. The present studies test whether liberals have implicit reactions to moral stimuli that contradict their consciously endorsed attitudes. The studies take a multi-method approach in order to measure moral reactions using different foundation-related stimuli and procedures, including self-reported gut reactions (Study 1), evaluative priming (Study 2), the Affect Misattribution Procedure (Study 3), and EEG event-related potentials (Study 4). The studies provide convergent evidence of implicit group-focused moral concerns in liberals not captured by explicit measures.

Keywords: moral intuitions, political ideology, individual differences, automaticity, implicit, moral foundations, politics

Suggested Citation

Graham, Jesse and Englander, Zoe and Morris, James P. and Hawkins, Carlee Beth and Haidt, Jonathan and Nosek, Brian A., Warning Bell: Liberals Implicitly Respond to Group Morality Before Rejecting it Explicitly (May 31, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2071499 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2071499

Jesse Graham (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
United States
2137409535 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.usc.edu/grahamlab

Zoe Englander

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

James P. Morris

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Carlee Beth Hawkins

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Jonathan Haidt

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )

NYU-Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Brian A. Nosek

University of Virginia ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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