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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dimensions of Moral Emotions

By Kurt Gray and Daniel M. Wegner
Emotion Review Vol. 3, No. 3 (July 2011) 258–260


Anger, disgust, elevation, sympathy, relief. If the subjective experience of each of these emotions is the same whether elicited by moral or nonmoral events, then what makes moral emotions unique? We suggest that the configuration of moral emotions is special—a configuration given by the underlying structure of morality. Research suggests that people divide the moral world along the two dimensions of valence (help/harm) and moral type (agent/patient). The intersection of these two dimensions gives four moral exemplars—heroes, villains, victims and beneficiaries—each of which elicits unique emotions. For example, victims (harm/patient) elicit sympathy and sadness. Dividing moral emotions into these four quadrants provides predictions about which emotions reinforce, oppose and complement each other.

The entire article is here.