Presentation on theme: "Threats to the Self Increase Moral Beliefs and Affiliation Geoffrey A. Wetherell DePaul University."— Presentation transcript:
Threats to the Self Increase Moral Beliefs and Affiliation Geoffrey A. Wetherell DePaul University
Moral Beliefs are Widespread Moral beliefs are strongly held with far-reaching effects Skitka & Bauman, 2008
Moral Beliefs are Objective and Universal Moral beliefs are experienced with objectivity and universality Skitka & Bauman, 2008
Moral Beliefs are Distinct Moral beliefs are separate from but related to: Centrality Importance Certainty Skitka & Bauman, 2008
Morality and Personal Identity Morality and personal identity seem closely linked Not fulfilling “oughts” causes negative emotion People reject moral violators Belief in a superior personal morality Importance and centrality are strong and consistent predictors of moral conviction Jordan & Monin, 2008; Monin, Sawyer, & Marquez, 2008; Tetlock, 2002; Wetherell, Brandt & Reyna
Self Threat and Adherence to Moral Beliefs? Beliefs relevant to the self are often strongly held Strong beliefs are difficult to change and people want to protect them Moral conviction may insulate people from threats to the self, and and provide feelings of permanence and objectivity
The Present Studies Examine the effect of threats to the self on moral beliefs Examine the effect of morality over and above other facets of beliefs The effects threats to the self on morality-> desired behavior
Study 1 Predictions Ideology threats lead to an increase in moral beliefs When placed in a condition in which ideology is threatened moral conviction will increase compared to a control condition.
Study 1 Participants 163 undergraduates at a large Midwestern University born in the United States (129 Women). Adapted from Cohen et al.
Study 1 Independent Variables Eight-item measure of colorblind ideology (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree; α =.75) E.g. “We should spend more time focusing on what makes ethnic groups similar rather than different” “The best way to achieve racial equality is to treat all ethnic groups the same”
Study 1 Independent Variables Read one of two passages about an African American woman experiencing stress because of: “The pressure of being a single mother in the United States” and “the poverty she has to deal with because of her situation.” Or to “problems that Black Americans have to face in the United States” and “the racial prejudices and racial injustices that she has to deal with because she is Black.” Adapted from Cohen et al.
Study 1 Dependent Variable Moral Conviction was measured with four items (1 = strongly disagree, 7 = strongly agree; α =.86): E.g. “My beliefs about whether or not we should spend more time focusing on what makes ethnic groups similar rather than different are a core part of my moral beliefs and convictions.” Adapted from Cohen et al.
Study 1 Results
Study 1 Discussion Threat -> increase in moral conviction Confirmation -> decrease in moral conviction Limitations? Comparison attitudes Desired behaviors
Studies 2 & 3 Conceptual replication of Study 1 using threats to belonging as an independent variable Includes additional facets of attitudes for comparison and a measure of desire to act.
Studies 2 & 3 Participants Study 2 (US sample) N = 96 (53 women) recruited on Mturk ($1) Study 3 (German sample) N = 81 (57 women) from the University of Munich
Studies 2 & 3 Independent Variables Measure of need to belong (NTB; 1 = not at all 7 = very much; S1 & 2 α >.86) 10 Items (e.g. “I want other people to accept me”) Exclusion manipulation (cyber ball) Inclusion vs. exclusion condition Leary et al., 2001
Studies 2 & 3 Independent Variables At first, please think about a social group that you belong to, other than your family or close friends. This could be, for example, a club, religious organization, and political organization or community group. Think about what this group represents in terms of your personal beliefs. What do people in this group believe in? What are their values? Do you agree or disagree with the values generally held by the group? 1.What is the group you belong to you are thinking of? 2.Tell us about the beliefs and values of the group you belong to. What does the group stand for? 3.Please tell us about what specific actions the group takes to live up its beliefs and values. 4.What is your connection to this group and how long have you been a member? What part do you play in this group?
Studies 2 & 3 Dependent Variables Moral evaluation of the group (1 = not at all 7 = very much; S1 r = -.22 p = 03; S2 r = -.72 p <.001) 2 items (e.g. “To what extent do you think the values generally held by your group are morally correct/wrong?”). Comparison attitudes about the group Importance: How important is your group to you? Certainty: Are you certain about your feelings towards your group? Centrality: To what extent is your membership in your group related to how you see yourself as a person?
Studies 2 & 3 Dependent Variables Intent to sacrifice (1 = not at all, 7 = very much; S1 & 2 α >.76) E.g. “I would sacrifice my life if it protected the beliefs of the group I wrote about” Swann et al., 2009)
Studies 2 & 3 Analytic Strategy 1.NTB*Condition->All attitude measures simultaneously 2.NTB*Condition->Sacrifice 3.Mediation: (NTB*Condition ->Morality vs. each attitude>Sacrifice)
Study 3 Results
United States Sample
Study 3 Discussion Over and above other measures of attitudes toward the group: Threats to belonging->moral agreement Acceptance->moral disagreement Moral agreement mediated this relationship over and above certainty and centrality
General Discussion Threats to the self lead to moral compensation across domains Affirmations may decrease a need for moral compensation across domains Only threat may drive willingness to sacrifice Morality may be a unique contributor to threat reparation
Thank You! Christine Reyna Mark Brandt Michaela Pfundmair The Laboratory of Social Science Research