Faculty Articles

CAD or MAD? Anger (not disgust) as the predominant response to pathogen-free violations of the divinity code.

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2014

Publication Title

Emotion

ISSN or ISBN

1931-1516

Volume

14

Issue/Number

5

First Page

892

ISSN

1931-1516

Last Page

907

Abstract/Excerpt

The CAD triad hypothesis (Rozin, Lowery, Imada, & Haidt, 1999) stipulates that, cross-culturally, people feel anger for violations of autonomy, contempt for violations of community, and disgust for violations of divinity. Although the disgust-divinity link has received some measure of empirical support, the results have been difficult to interpret in light of several conceptual and design flaws. Taking a revised methodological approach, including use of newly validated (Study 1), pathogen-free violations of the divinity code, we found (Study 2) little evidence of disgust-related phenomenology (nausea, gagging, loss of appetite) or action tendency (desire to move away), but much evidence of anger-linked desire to retaliate, as a major component of individuals' projected response to "pure" (pathogen-free) violations of the divinity code. Study 3 replicated these results using faces in lieu of words as a dependent measure. Concordant findings emerged from an archival study (Study 4) examining the aftermath of a real-life sacred violation-the burning of Korans by U.S. military personnel. Study 5 further corroborated these results using continuous measures based on everyday emotion terms and new variants of the divinity-pure scenarios featuring sacrilegious acts committed by a theologically irreverent member of one's own group rather than an ideologically opposed member of another group. Finally, a supplemental study found the anger-dominant attribution pattern to remain intact when the impious act being judged was the judge's own. Based on these and related results, we posit anger to be the principal emotional response to moral transgressions irrespective of the normative content involved.

DOI

10.1037/a0036829

Comments

We thank Paul Rozin, Eddie Harmon-Jones, and four anonymous reviewers for their thoughtful and detailed comments on earlier versions of this article.

© 2014 American Psychological Association

PubMed ID

24866519

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Peer Reviewed

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