Faculty Articles

Title

Representations of moral violations: Category members and associated features

Authors

Justin F. Landy

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2016

Keywords

moral judgment; Social Domain Theory; Moral Foundations Theory; individual differences

Publication Title

udgment and Decision Making

ISSN

1930-2975

Volume

11

Issue/No.

5

Abstract

I present a novel way to conceptualize Turiel and colleagues’ Social Domain Theory (SDT), and Haidt and colleagues’ Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), as theories of how concepts of moral violations are mentally represented. I argue that SDT is best viewed as a theory of the features that are associated with concepts of moral violations, including wrongness, generalizability across cultures, and intrinsic harmfulness, and that MFT, in contrast, is best viewed as a theory of individual differences in what kinds of acts are categorized as moral violations (i.e., of category membership). This perspective generates a novel prediction: the same individual difference variables that predict variation in moral values according to MFT should predict ascription of the features predicted by SDT. That is, judgments of wrongness, generalizability, and intrinsic harmfulness should covary with the same predictors as do endorsed moral values, specifically, political orientation and analytic thinking. Three studies supported this hypothesis.

Peer Reviewed

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