The self in moral judgement: How self-affirmation affects the moral condemnation of harmless sexual taboo violations

Marlon Mooijman*, Wilco W. Van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

People frequently condemn harmless sexual taboo behaviours. Based on self-affirmation theory, we predicted that providing an opportunity to self-affirm decreases the tendency to morally condemn harmless sexual taboos. In Experiment 1, we found evidence that self-affirmation decreases the moral condemnation of harmless sexual taboos and ruled out that this was due to a decrease in how disgusting participants considered taboo acts. In Experiment 2, we replicated this effect and demonstrated the mediating role of self-directed threat emotions. These results demonstrate that the tendency to morally condemn harmless sexual taboos arises in part from the need to protect self-integrity. We discuss the implications for the role of the self and emotions in moral judgements and interventions aimed at increasing the acceptability of harmless sexual taboos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1326-1334
Number of pages9
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume29
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2015

Keywords

  • Emotions
  • Harmless taboo violations
  • Moral judgements
  • Self-affirmation
  • Self-threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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