Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.686355
Title: Promoting prosociality : testing the potential of moral elevation and moral outrage
Author: Van de Vyver, Julie
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 6612
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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Abstract:
This thesis examines the effects of two specific moral emotions - moral elevation (experienced when witnessing a moral virtue) and moral outrage (experienced when witnessing a moral transgression) - on prosociality. While ample research has examined emotions such as sympathy and guilt, much less is known about moral elevation and moral outrage. Yet, their separate strands of research suggest that both moral elevation and moral outrage are promising emotions for promoting prosocial responses. Chapters 1 and 2 are theoretical chapters. Chapter 1 reviews the literatures on prosociality, moral emotions, and the effects of moral emotions on prosociality. Chapter 2 identifies and describes the key gaps in the moral elevation and moral outrage literatures. The key gaps in the literature and avenues for research include: (1) testing and comparing the specific and potentially distinctive prosocial outcomes of moral elevation and moral outrage, and (2) examining the specific component features of moral elevation and moral outrage, in particular focusing on the component features that have prosocial implications. Chapter 3 is a methodological chapter which reports three pilot studies testing the effects of emotion-inducing videos on feelings of moral elevation and feelings of moral outrage. The three pilot studies provide evidence for the effectiveness of the emotion-inducing stimuli used in this thesis. Chapters 4 and 5 are empirical chapters which test the effects of moral elevation and moral outrage on prosocial outcomes, drawing on the appraisal tendency framework (Horberg et al., 2011). Specifically, to identify, for the first time, how moral elevation and moral outrage may affect the same or distinct prosocial intentions and behaviours, Chapters 4 and 5 report four studies testing the joint and independent effects of these two emotions on different types of prosocial outcomes. Comparing their effects in an experimental design enables a direct test of whether they increase helping behaviours generally (across moral domains), or whether their effects are more nuanced and depend on the salience of their associated sociomoral concern (i.e., benevolence concerns for elevation and justice concerns for outrage). Specifically, Study 1 examines benevolence-relevant intentions in the form of self-reported prosocial benevolence intentions. Study 2 examines justice-relevant intentions in the form of prosocial political action intentions following an inequality. Study 3 examines benevolence-relevant behaviour in the form of charitable donations. Study 4 examines justice-relevant behaviour in the form of third-party bystander compensation and punishment following unfairness. Results provide support for the appraisal tendency framework. Specifically, moral elevation promoted prosocial intentions and behaviours when outcomes were relevant to benevolence concerns (Studies 1 and 3). In contrast, moral outrage promoted prosocial intentions and behaviours when outcomes were relevant to justice concerns (Studies 2 and 4). Chapters 6 and 7 examine the component features, rather than the behavioural outcomes of moral elevation and moral outrage. Chapter 6 reports two studies that explore the relationships between moral elevation and moral outrage and the behavioural activation and inhibition systems. The primary aim was to uncover whether moral elevation can be conceptualised as an approach-oriented emotion. Past research has already demonstrated that moral outrage is an approach-oriented emotion (Harmon-Jones, 2007). However, evidence for whether moral elevation can be conceptualised as an approach-oriented emotion is mixed. Results of both studies provide clear support for the notion that elevation is also an approach-oriented emotion. Specifically, individual differences in moral elevation were related to individual differences in the behavioural activation but not inhibition system. Furthermore, an elevation-inducing video, as compared to a control video, increased an approach-oriented state, as well as prosocial motivation. Chapter 7 is the final empirical chapter. Chapter 7 reports two studies that explore the effects of moral elevation and moral outrage on two specific component features - stereotyping and self-focus. Study 7 demonstrates that sympathy (but not elevation or outrage) instigates undesirable paternalistic stereotypes. Study 8 shows that guilt (but not elevation or outrage) instigates relatively more self-focus than other-focus. These studies provide support for the distinctive roles of elevation and outrage as bases for more unqualified prosocial responses than are produced by sympathy or guilt. Chapter 8 provides an integrative discussion of this thesis, highlighting the key findings, the theoretical and applied implications, the limitations, and the future directions of this research. The primary findings of this thesis are that moral elevation and moral outrage may be particularly effective strategies for mobilising people to want to help others. However, their prosocial effects are distinctive and therefore the emotions should be used appropriately. This thesis informs and extends important theoretical frameworks including the appraisal tendency framework (Horberg et al., 2011) and the model of moral emotion prototypicality (Haidt, 2003), as well as the moral elevation and moral outrage literatures more specifically. The findings have direct implications for end-users including charitable organisations. Specifically, this thesis provides insights into the types of emotion-based interventions that may be effective for promoting prosocial action. Chapter 8 concludes with a discussion of important and exciting avenues for future research which include applying an intergroup framework to this research as well as testing the effects of moral elevation and moral outrage on prosociality among children and adolescents.
Supervisor: Abrams, Dominic Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.686355  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology
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