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ERIC Number: EJ934785
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Oct
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0277
When Sentimental Rules Collide: "Norms with feelings" in the Dilemmatic Context
Royzman, Edward B.; Goodwin, Geoffrey P.; Leeman, Robert F.
Cognition, v121 n1 p101-114 Oct 2011
According to a recently prominent account of moral judgment, genuine moral disapprobation is a product of two convergent vectors of normative influence: a strong negative affect that arises from the mere consideration of a given piece of human conduct and a (socially acquired) belief that this conduct is wrong (Nichols, 2002). The existing evidence in favor of this "norms with feelings" proposal is rather mixed, with no obvious route to an empirical resolution. To help shed further light on the situation, we test a previously unexamined prediction that this account logically yields in a novel dilemmatic context: when individuals are faced with a moral dilemma that pits two or more "affectively-charged" moral norms against each other, the norm underwritten by the strongest feeling ought to determine the content of dilemmatic resolution. Across three studies, we find evidence that directly challenges this prediction, offering support for a Kolhberg-style "rationalist" alternative instead. More specifically, we find that it is not the participants' degree of norm-congruent emotion (whether situationally or dispositionally assessed) or its correlates, but rather their appraisal of the relative costs associated with various alternative courses of action that appears to be most predictive of how they resolve the experimentally induced moral conflict. We conclude by situating our studies within an overarching typology of moral encounters, which, we believe, can help guide future research as well as shed light on some current controversies within this literature. (Contains 4 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A