Harming Ourselves and Defiling Others: What Determines a Moral Domain?
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CitationChakroff, Alek, James Dungan, and Liane Young. 2013. “Harming Ourselves and Defiling Others: What Determines a Moral Domain?” PLoS ONE 8 (9): e74434. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074434. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074434.
AbstractRecent work has distinguished “harm” from “purity” violations, but how does an act get classified as belonging to a domain in the first place? We demonstrate the impact of not only the kind of action (e.g., harmful versus impure) but also its target (e.g., oneself versus another). Across two experiments, common signatures of harm and purity tracked with other-directed and self-directed actions, respectively. First, participants judged self-directed acts as primarily impure and other-directed acts as primarily harmful. Second, conservatism predicted harsher judgments of self-directed but not other-directed acts. Third, while participants delivered harsher judgments of intentional versus accidental acts, this effect was smaller for self-directed than other-directed acts. Finally, participants judged self-directed acts more harshly when focusing on the actor’s character versus the action itself; other-directed acts elicited the opposite pattern. These findings suggest that moral domains are defined not only by the kind of action but also by the target of the action.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:11877032
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