Reason And Disgust : Moral Foundations And Utilitarian Judgments

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Reason and Disgust in Moral Foundations and Utilitarian Judgments
Gajan Thiyagarajah (636280)

PSYC20009 - Personality and Social Psychology - 2014 Abstract
The current study considered the recent debate in moral psychology as to the primacy of emotion in individual moral foundations and judgments (Haidt, 2001) against previous conceptions of consciously driven reasoning processes as the major determinant in moral decisions (Turiel, 1983). The study, involving 596 undergraduate psychology students, was in part derived from the Dual Process Model (Greene, Nystrom, Engell, Darley, & Cohen, 2004) and questioned how distinct characteristics of personal and impersonal moral dilemmas appealed to emotion and reason respectively. It was suspected that the individual character trait Need For Cognition (NFC) would show positive correlation with utilitarian (i.e. harm minimising) responses for both personal and impersonal dilemmas. These hypotheses were not supported. The intuitive measure Disgust Propensity (DP) was expected to show negative correlation with utilitarian responses for the personal dilemma. It was also forecast that individuals with high levels of DP would demonstrate sensitivity to violations of the moral foundation of purity (Graham, Nosek, Haidt, Iyer, Koleva, & Ditto, 2011). These hypotheses were supported. The findings provide limited proof of the role of individual characteristics in moral activities. Further research accounting for factors such as age,

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