Social threat indirectly increases moral condemnation via thwarting fundamental social needs.
Henderson, Robert K
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
MetadataShow full item record
Henderson, R. K., & Schnall, S. (2021). Social threat indirectly increases moral condemnation via thwarting fundamental social needs.. Sci Rep, 11 (1) https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00752-2
Funder: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100000865
Individuals who experience threats to their social needs may attempt to avert further harm by condemning wrongdoers more severely. Three pre-registered studies tested whether threatened social esteem is associated with increased moral condemnation. In Study 1 (N = 381) participants played a game in which they were socially included or excluded and then evaluated the actions of moral wrongdoers. We observed an indirect effect: Exclusion increased social needs-threat, which in turn increased moral condemnation. Study 2 (N = 428) was a direct replication, and also showed this indirect effect. Both studies demonstrated the effect across five moral foundations, and was most pronounced for harm violations. Study 3 (N = 102) examined dispositional concerns about social needs threat, namely social anxiety, and showed a positive correlation between this trait and moral judgments. Overall, results suggest threatened social standing is linked to moral condemnation, presumably because moral wrongdoers pose a further threat when one's ability to cope is already compromised.
Humans, Morals, Social Behavior
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-00752-2
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/330336
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