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Patterns and evolution of moral behavior: moral dynamics in everyday life

Pothos, E. M., Barque-Duran, A., Yearsley, J. and Hampton, J. A. (2016). Patterns and evolution of moral behavior: moral dynamics in everyday life. Thinking and Reasoning, 22(1), pp. 31-56. doi: 10.1080/13546783.2015.1051585

Abstract

Recent research on moral dynamics (the processes and phenomena –collective or individual– by which moral behavior and moral attitudes emerge, evolve, spread, erode or disappear) shows that an individual’s ethical mind-set (i.e., outcome-based vs. rule-based) moderates the impact of an initial ethical or unethical act on the likelihood of behaving ethically on a subsequent occasion. More specifically, an outcome-based mind-set facilitates Moral Balancing (behaving ethically or unethically decreases the likelihood of engaging in the same type of behavior again later), whereas a rule-based mind-set facilitates Moral Consistency (engaging in an ethical or unethical behavior increases the likelihood of engaging in the same type of behavior later on). The objective was to look at the evolution of moral choice across a series of scenarios, that is, to explore if these moral patterns (Balancing vs. Consistency) are maintained over time. The results of three studies showed that Moral Balancing is not maintained over time. On the other hand, Moral Consistency could be maintained over time, if the mind-set was reinforced before making a new moral judgment (but not otherwise).

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Thinking and Reasoning and is available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2015.1051585
Publisher Keywords: prosocial choices, moral behavior, ethical mind-sets, ethical behavior, decision making
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/11842
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