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Moral tribalism: Moral judgments of actions supporting ingroup interests depend on collective narcissism

Bocian, Konrad, Cichocka, Aleksandra, Wojciszke, Bogdan (2020) Moral tribalism: Moral judgments of actions supporting ingroup interests depend on collective narcissism. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, (71). Article Number 104098. ISSN 0022-1031. (doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2020.104098) (KAR id:85342)


In this article, we examine how group identity and protection of group interests shape morality judgments. We argue that actions serving ingroup interests are more likely to be judged as moral (or less immoral) than the same actions that do not serve ingroup interests. However, this group-interest bias should be especially strong among those high in collective narcissism—a defensive belief in ingroup greatness that is not appreciated by others. In Studies 1 (N = 185, Polish and British participants) and 2 (N = 404, British participants), participants judged actions favouring interests of outgroup members as less moral than similar actions favouring interests of their ingroup. However, this effect was only present for those high in national collective narcissism. In Study 3 (N = 400, American participants), moral judgments of the US Senate's decision about Brett Kavanaugh's nomination depended on partisanship, but this effect was strengthened by partisan collective narcissism. Finally, in Study 4 (N = 711, American participants), the association between national collective narcissism and morality judgments of President Trump's decision to remain an ally of Saudi Arabia was especially strong when national interest was salient (vs. not). None of the studies observed similar moderating effects of conventional ingroup identification. Overall, these results suggest that ingroup interests shape moral judgments, but this bias is most prevalent among those who are defensive about their group identity.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.jesp.2020.104098
Uncontrolled keywords: MoralityIntergroup processesIngroup identificationCollective narcissismGroup interest
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Konrad Bocian
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2021 18:37 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 02:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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