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Beyond Purity: Moral Disgust toward Bad Character

Giner-Sorolla, Roger, Chapman, Hanah (2016) Beyond Purity: Moral Disgust toward Bad Character. Psychological Science, 28 (1). pp. 80-91. ISSN 0956-7976. (doi:10.1177/0956797616673193) (KAR id:57863)

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Previous studies support a link between moral disgust and impurity, while anger is linked to harm. We challenge this strict correspondence, and show that disgust is sensitive to information about moral character, even for harm violations. By contrast, anger is sensitive to information about actions, including their moral wrongness and consequences. Study 1 examined disgust and anger toward an action that indicates especially bad moral character (animal cruelty) versus an action that is more wrong (domestic abuse). Animal cruelty was associated with more disgust, whereas domestic abuse was associated with more anger. Studies 2 and 3 manipulated character by varying the agent’s desire to cause harm, and also varied the action’s harmful consequences. Desire to harm predicted only disgust (controlling for anger), while consequences were more closely related to anger (controlling for disgust). Taken together, these results indicate disgust responds to evidence of bad moral character, not just to impurity.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0956797616673193
Uncontrolled keywords: anger, disgust, morality, character, harm, purity
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Roger Giner-Sorolla
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2016 12:10 UTC
Last Modified: 06 May 2020 03:15 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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