Beyond Affective Influences on Deontological Moral Judgment: The Role of Motivations for Prevention in the Moral Condemnation of Harm

Monica Gamez-Djokic*, Daniel Molden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Past research suggests that deontological judgments, which condemn deliberate harm no matter what the beneficial consequences, typically arise from emotional and intuitive reactions to the harm, whereas utilitarian judgments, which acknowledge the potential benefits of deliberate harm, typically arise from rational deliberation about whether these benefits outweigh the costs. The present research explores whether specific motivational orientations might, at times, increase the likelihood of deontological judgments without increasing emotional reactions. A meta-analysis of 10 newly conducted studies indicated that, compared with when focused on advancement (promotion), when people were focused on security (prevention) they made stronger deontological judgments in hypothetical moral dilemmas. Moreover, this effect could not be explained by participants’ differing emotional reactions to the dilemmas when prevention-focused, but instead mirrored reports of their explicit reasoning. Implications for expanding current models of deontological and utilitarian moral judgment are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1522-1537
Number of pages16
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume42
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • deontology
  • dual-processes
  • moral judgment
  • regulatory focus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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