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The Effect of Moral Interactions on Self-Regulation

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posted on 25.02.2016, 00:00 authored by Brittany E. Hanson
The current research examined how people engage in moralized versus non-moralized political discourse. Participants took part in an interpersonal interaction where both participants either (a) felt high or low moral conviction about the discussion issue and (b) agreed or disagreed about the issue. The current research tested the hypothesis that participants would engage in self-regulatory processes when they disagreed with their partner and were high rather than low in moral conviction in order to avoid potential conflict. Specifically, I tested whether participants would regulate both the timing and expression of their attitude as well as their dislike and negative impressions of their partner. The current research also tested the hypothesis that engagement in these self-regulatory processes during such interactions would deplete participants’ executive function abilities, as measured by the antisaccade task. Results did not support the hypotheses that people who participated in a discussion where they disagreed about an issue high rather than low in moral conviction would regulate their timing and expression of their attitude nor did they indicate that they felt more dislike for or had more negative impressions of their partner. However, participants were motivated to appear tolerant of their partner in order to avoid conflict when they disagreed about a high versus low morally convicted attitude. Contrary to hypotheses, this self-regulatory effort did not result in subsequent executive functioning depletion. The findings are discussed in terms of the limits to the interpersonal consequences of moral conviction.



Skitka, Linda J.



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University of Illinois at Chicago

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Wiley, Jennifer Murphy, Mary

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