Perceptions of Affect Shape the Gap Between Moral Behaviors and Moral Forecasts
Rimma Teper, Alexa M. Tullett, Elizabeth Page-Gould, and Michael Inzlicht
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 1–14
Research in moral decision making has shown that there may not be a one-to-one relationship between peoples’ moral forecasts and behaviors. Although past work suggests that physiological arousal may account for part of the behavior forecasting discrepancy, whether or not perceptions of affect play an important determinant remains unclear. Here, we investigate whether this discrepancy may arise because people fail to anticipate how they will feel in morally significant situations. In Study 1, forecasters predicted cheating significantly more on a test than participants in a behavior condition actually cheated. Importantly, forecasters who received false somatic feedback, indicative of high arousal, produced forecasts that aligned more closely with behaviors. In Study 2, forecasters who misattributed their arousal to an extraneous source forecasted cheating significantly more. In Study 3, higher dispositional emotional awareness was related to less forecasted cheating. These findings suggest that perceptions of affect play a key role in the behavior-forecasting dissociation.
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