By Jared Piazza and Paulo Sousa
Social Psychological and Personality Science April 2014 vol. 5 no. 3 334-342
Three studies demonstrated that the moral judgments of religious individuals and political conservatives are highly insensitive to consequentialist (i.e., outcome-based) considerations. In Study 1, both religiosity and political conservatism predicted a resistance toward consequentialist thinking concerning a range of transgressive acts, independent of other relevant dispositional factors (e.g., disgust sensitivity). Study 2 ruled out differences in welfare sensitivity as an explanation for these findings. In Study 3, religiosity and political conservatism predicted a commitment to judging “harmless” taboo violations morally impermissible, rather than discretionary, despite the lack of negative consequences rising from the act. Furthermore, non-consequentialist thinking style was shown to mediate the relationship religiosity/conservatism had with impermissibility judgments, while intuitive thinking style did not. These data provide further evidence for the influence of religious and political commitments in motivating divergent moral judgments, while highlighting a new dispositional factor, non-consequentialist thinking style, as a mediator of these effects.
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