Moral Chivalry: Gender and Harm Sensitivity Predict Costly Altruism

Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 7, Issue 6, 2016

10 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2017

See all articles by Oriel FeldmanHall

Oriel FeldmanHall

Brown University Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences

Tim Dalgleish

Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Medical Research Council

Davy Evans

University of Cambridge - MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit

Lauren Navrady

University of Cambridge - MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit; University of Edinburgh, Students

Ellen Tedeschi

Columbia University, Students

Dean Mobbs

Columbia University

Date Written: 2016

Abstract

Moral perceptions of harm and fairness are instrumental in guiding how an individual navigates moral challenges. Classic research documents that the gender of a target can affect how people deploy these perceptions of harm and fairness. Across multiple studies, we explore the effect of an individual’s moral orientations (their considerations of harm and justice) and a target’s gender on altruistic behavior. Results reveal that a target’s gender can bias one’s readiness to engage in harmful actions and that a decider’s considerations of harm — but not fairness concerns — modulate costly altruism. Together, these data illustrate that moral choices are conditional on the social nature of the moral dyad: Even under the same moral constraints, a target’s gender and a decider’s gender can shift an individual’s choice to be more or less altruistic, suggesting that gender bias and harm considerations play a significant role in moral cognition.

Keywords: Moral, Altruism, Gender, Gender Bias, Harm Sensitivity

Suggested Citation

FeldmanHall, Oriel and Dalgleish, Tim and Evans, Davy and Navrady, Lauren and Tedeschi, Ellen and Mobbs, Dean, Moral Chivalry: Gender and Harm Sensitivity Predict Costly Altruism (2016). Social Psychological and Personality Science, Vol. 7, Issue 6, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2896934

Oriel FeldmanHall (Contact Author)

Brown University Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences ( email )

190 Thayer St.
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Tim Dalgleish

Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Medical Research Council ( email )

15 Chaucer Road
Cambridge, CB2 7EF
United Kingdom

Davy Evans

University of Cambridge - MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit ( email )

15 Chaucer Road
Cambridge, CB2 7EF
United Kingdom

Lauren Navrady

University of Cambridge - MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit ( email )

15 Chaucer Road
Cambridge, CB2 7EF
United Kingdom

University of Edinburgh, Students ( email )

Edinburgh
United Kingdom

Ellen Tedeschi

Columbia University, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Dean Mobbs

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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