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Sunday, January 14, 2024

Google is Free: Moral Evaluations of Intergroup Curiosity

Mosley, A. J., & Solomon, L. H. (2023).
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 0(0).


Two experiments investigated how evaluations of intergroup curiosity differed depending on whether people placed responsibility for their learning on themselves or on outgroup members. In Study 1, participants (n = 340; 51% White-American, 49% Black-American) evaluated White actors who were curious about Black culture and placed responsibility on outgroup members to teach versus on themselves to learn. Both Black and White participants rated the latter actors as more moral, and perceptions of effort mediated this effect. A follow-up preregistered study (n = 513; 75% White-American) asked whether perceptions of greater effort cause greater perceptions of moral goodness. Replicating Study 1, participants rated actors as more moral when they placed responsibility on themselves versus others. Participants also rated actors as more moral when they exerted high versus low effort. These results clarify when and why participants view curiosity as morally good and help to strengthen bridges between work on curiosity, moral cognition, and intergroup relations.

Here is my summary:

The researchers found that people evaluate intergroup curiosity more favorably when they perceive that the curious individual is placing responsibility on themselves to learn rather than on the outgroup to teach. The researchers also found that perceptions of effort mediate this effect, such that people view curious individuals who exert greater effort as more moral. These findings suggest that people view intergroup curiosity as more morally good when they perceive that the curious individual is taking responsibility for their own learning and is putting in the effort to understand the outgroup.