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Monday, August 28, 2017

Death Before Dishonor: Incurring Costs to Protect Moral Reputation

Andrew J. Vonasch, Tania Reynolds, Bo M. Winegard, Roy F. Baumeister
Social Psychological and Personality Science 
First published date: July-21-2017

Abstract

Predicated on the notion that people’s survival depends greatly on participation in cooperative society, and that reputation damage may preclude such participation, four studies with diverse methods tested the hypothesis that people would make substantial sacrifices to protect their reputations. A “big data” study found that maintaining a moral reputation is one of people’s most important values. In making hypothetical choices, high percentages of “normal” people reported preferring jail time, amputation of limbs, and death to various forms of reputation damage (i.e., becoming known as a criminal, Nazi, or child molester). Two lab studies found that 30% of people fully submerged their hands in a pile of disgusting live worms, and 63% endured physical pain to prevent dissemination of information suggesting that they were racist. We discuss the implications of reputation protection for theories about altruism and motivation.

The article is here.
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