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ERIC Number: EJ928182
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 61
ISSN: ISSN-0190-2725
The Moral Self: Applying Identity Theory
Stets, Jan E.; Carter, Michael J.
Social Psychology Quarterly, v74 n2 p192-215 Jun 2011
This research applies identity theory to understand the moral self. In identity theory, individuals act on the basis of their identity meanings, and they regulate the meanings of their behavior so that those meanings are consistent with their identity meanings. An inconsistency produces negative emotions and motivates individuals to behave differently to produce outcomes that will better match their identity meanings. A two-part survey and laboratory study were conducted to investigate the application of identity theory to the moral self. The findings are consistent with identity theory predictions. In the survey that addresses past experiences, we find that individuals' moral identity guides their behavior. When an identity discrepancy emerges between moral identity meanings and perceptions of themselves in a situation, negative feelings are experienced. These same effects are observed when these individuals are placed in an immediate moral dilemma in the laboratory. Overall, the results reveal how identity theory helps explain the individual as a moral entity. (Contains 1 figure, 6 tables, and 16 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A