Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Disentangling the Effect of Valence and Arousal on Judgments Concerning Moral Transgressions

  • Luis de la Viña (a1), David Garcia-Burgos (a2), Yasmina Okan (a3), Antonio Cándido (a1) and Felisa González (a1)...

Abstract

An increasing body of research has investigated the effect of emotions on judgments concerning moral transgressions. Yet, few studies have controlled for arousal levels associated with the emotions. High arousal may affect moral processing by triggering attention to salient features of transgressions, independently of valence. Therefore previously documented differences in effects of negative and positive emotions may have been confounded by differences in arousal. We conducted two studies to shed light on this issue. In Study 1 we developed a questionnaire including vignettes selected on the basis of psychometrical properties (i.e., mean ratings of the actions and variability). This questionnaire was administered to participants in Study 2, after presenting them with selected pictures inducing different valence but equivalent levels of arousal. Negative pictures led to more severe moral judgments than neutral (p = .054, d = 0.60) and positive pictures (p = .002, d = 1.02), for vignettes that were not associated with extreme judgments. In contrast, positive pictures did not reliably affect judgments concerning such vignettes. These findings suggest that the observed effects of emotions cannot be accounted for by an increase in attention linked to the arousal which accompanies these emotions.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Felisa González. Departmento de Psicología Experimental. Universidad de Granada. Campus Cartuja s/n. 18071. Granada (Spain). E-mail: (fgreyes@ugr.es)

References

Hide All
Amit, E., & Greene, J. D. (2012). You see, the ends don’t justify the means: Visual imagery and moral judgment. Psychological Science, 23, 861868. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797611434965
Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (1994). Measuring emotion: The self-assessment manikin and the semantic differential. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 25, 4959. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0005-7916(94)90063-9
Damasio, A. R. (1994). Descartes' error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York, NY: Putnam.
Eskine, K. J., Kacinik, N. A., & Prinz, J. J. (2011). A bad taste in the mouth: Gustatory disgust influences moral judgment. Psychological Science, 22, 295299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797611398497
Greene, J. D. (2007). Why are VMPFC patients more utilitarian? A dual-process theory of moral judgment explains. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 11, 322323. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2007.06.004
Greene, J. D., Nystrom, L. E., Engell, A. D., Darley, J. M., & Cohen, J. D. (2004). The neural bases of cognitive conflict and control in moral judgment. Neuron, 44, 389400. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2004.09.027
Haidt, J., McCauley, C., & Rozin, P. (1994). Individual differences in sensitivity to disgust: A scale sampling seven domains of disgust elicitors. Personality and Individual Differences, 16, 701713. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(94)90212-7
Horberg, E. J., Oveis, C., & Keltner, D. (2011). Emotions as moral amplifiers: An appraisal tendency to the influences of distinct emotions upon moral judgment. Emotion Review, 3, 237244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1754073911402384
Horberg, E. J., Oveis, C., Keltner, D., & Cohen, A. B. (2009). Disgust and the moralization of purity. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 97, 963976. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0017423
Huebner, B., Dwyer, S., & Hauser, M. (2009). The role of emotion in moral psychology. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13, 16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2008.09.006
Knutson, K. M., Krueger, F., Koenings, M., Hawley, A., Escobedo, J. R., Vasudeva, V., … Grafman, J. (2010). Behavioral norms for condensed moral vignettes. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5, 378384. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsq005
Koenigs, M., Young, L., Adolphs, R., Tranel, D., Cushman, F., Hauseret, , & Damasio, A. (2007). Damage to the prefrontal cortex increases utilitarian moral judgments. Nature, 446, 908911. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature05631
Lang, P. J., Bradley, M. M., & Cuthbert, B. N. (2005). International Affective Picture System (IAPS): Digitized photographs, instruction manual and affective ratings. Technical Report A-6. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida.
Moltó, J., Montañés, S., Poy, R., Segarra, P., Pastor, M. C., Tormo, M. P., … Vila, J. (1999). Un nuevo método para el estudio experimental de las emociones: El “International Affective Picture System (IAPS)”. Adaptación española [A new method for the experimental study of emotions: The international affective picture system (IAPS). Spanish adaptation]. Revista de Psicología General y Aplicada, 52, 5587.
Monin, B., Pizarro, D. A., & Beer, J. S. (2007). Deciding versus reacting: Conceptions of moral judgment and the reason-affect debate. Review of General Psychology, 11, 99111. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1089-2680.11.2.99
Mourão-Miranda, E. V., Volchan, E., Moll, J., de Oliveira-Souza, R., Oliveira, L., Bramati, I., … Pessoa, L. (2003). Contributions of stimulus valence and arousal to visual activation during emotional perception. NeuroImage, 20, 19551963. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2003.08.011
Musch, J., & Klauer, K. C. (2003). Affective priming, findings and theories. In Musch, J. & Klauer, K. C. (Eds.), The psychology of evaluation (pp. 950). New Jersey NJ: L.E.A.
O'Hara, R. E., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., & Sinnott-Armstrong, N. A. (2010). Wording effects in moral judgments. Judgment and Decision Making, 5, 547554.
Olivera la Rosa, A., & Roselló Mir, J. (2013). On the relationship between disgust and morality: A critical review. Psicothema, 25, 222226. http://dx.doi.org/10.7334/psicothema2012.159
Paxton, J. M., Ungar, L., & Green, J. D. (2011). Reflection and reasoning in moral judgment. Cognitive Science, 36, 163177. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01210.x
Rozin, P., Haidt, J., & McCauley, C. R. (2008). Disgust. In Lewis, M., Haviland-Jones, J. M., & Barrett, L. F. (Eds.), Handbook of Emotions, (3 rd Ed., pp. 757776). New York, NY: Guildford Press.
Salerno, J. M., & Peter-Hagene, C. P. (2013). The interactive effect of anger and disgust on moral outrage and judgments. Psychological Science, 24, 20692078. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0956797613486988
Schnall, S., Haidt, J., Clore, G. L., & Jordan, A. H. (2008). Disgust as embodied moral judgment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 10961109. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0146167208317771
Schwarz, N., & Clore, G. L. (1983). Mood, misattribution, and judgments of well-being: Informative and directive functions of affective states. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 513523. http://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0022-3514.45.3.513
Seidel, A., & Prinz, J. (2012). Mad and glad: Musically induced emotions have divergent impact on morals. Motivation and Emotion, 37, 629637. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11031-012-9320-7
Seidel, A., & Prinz, J. (2013). Sound morality: Irritating and icky noises amplify judgments in divergent moral domains. Cognition, 127, 15. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2012.11.004
Slovic, P., & Peters, E. (2006). Risk perception and affect. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 322325. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2006.00461.x
Strohminger, N., Lewis, R. L., & Meyer, D. E. (2011). Divergent effects of different positive emotions on moral judgment. Cognition, 119, 295300. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2010.12.012
Suter, R. S., & Hertwig, R. (2011). Time and moral judgment. Cognition, 119, 454458. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2011.01.018
Thomson, J. J. (1976). Killing, letting die, and the trolley problem. The Monist, 59, 204217. http://dx.doi.org/10.5840/monist197659224
Ugazio, G., Lamm, C., & Singer, T. (2012). The role of emotions for moral judgments depends on the type of emotion and moral scenario. Emotion, 12, 579590. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0024611
Valdesolo, P., & DeSteno, D. (2006). Manipulations of emotional context shape moral judgment. Psychological Science, 17, 476477. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01731.x
Valdesolo, P., & DeSteno, D. (2008). The duality of virtue: Deconstructing the moral hypocrite. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 13341338. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2008.03.010
Vila, J., Sánchez, M., Ramírez, I., Fernández, M. C., Cobos, P., Rodríguez, S., … Moltó, J. (2001). El sistema internacional de imágenes afectivas (IAPS): Adaptación española. Segunda parte [The international affective picture system (IAPS): Spanish adaptation. Second part]. Revista de Psicología General y Aplicada, 54, 635657.
Waldmann, M. R., Nagel, J., & Wiegmann, A. (2012). Moral judgment. In Holyoak, K. J. & Morrison, R. G. (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of thinking and reasoning (pp. 364389). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Wheatley, T., & Haidt, J. (2005). Hypnotic disgust makes moral judgments more severe. Psychological Science, 16, 780784. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2005.01614.x
Zarkadi, T., & Schnall, S. (2013). “Black and white” thinking: Visual contrast polarizes moral judgment. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49, 355359. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2012.11.012

Keywords

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed