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\title {Moral Psychology \\ Lecture 04}
 
\maketitle
 

Lecture 04:

Moral Psychology

\def \ititle {Lecture 04}
\def \isubtitle {Moral Psychology}
\begin{center}
{\Large
\textbf{\ititle}: \isubtitle
}
 
\iemail %
\end{center}
Next issue (Part II of lecture course)!

What do discoveries concerning human moral psychology imply for the feasibility of democratically mitigating climate change?

Plan:

Work through Feinberg & Willer, 2013 ‘The Moral Roots of Environmental Attitudes’

What are their background assumptions, and what is the evidence for them?
What is their theoretical framework?
\subsection{Simplified Preview} \begin{enumerate} \item ‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes’ \item ‘liberals and conservatives possess different moral profiles’ \item ‘liberals express greater levels of environmental concern than do conservatives in part because liberals are more likely to view environmental issues in moral terms’ \item ‘exposing conservatives to proenvironmental appeals based on moral concerns that uniquely resonate with them will lead them to view the environment in moral terms and be more supportive of proenvironmental efforts.’ \end{enumerate}

Can I have a preview?

1. ‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes’

3. ‘liberals and conservatives possess different moral profiles’

Numbering is deliberate --- skipping #2 in the preview
There is cultural variation in the bounds of ethics between socially liberal and sociall conservative people.

4. ‘liberals express greater levels of environmental concern than do conservatives in part because liberals are more likely to view environmental issues in moral terms.’

5. ‘exposing conservatives to proenvironmental appeals based on moral concerns that uniquely resonate with them will lead them to view the environment in moral terms and be more supportive of proenvironmental efforts.’

First quote to analyse

1

‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes’

\citep[p.~1]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 1

 
\section{Do Ethical Attitudes Shape Political Behaviours?}
 
\section{Do Ethical Attitudes Shape Political Behaviours?}

attitudes generally (not specifically ethical attitudes)

From an old metaanlysis on the relation between attitudes in general and behaviours.
Attitudes generally have relatively little influence on behaviours. How about specifically ethical attitudes?
‘Taken as a whole, these studies suggest that

it is considerably more likely that attitudes will be unrelated or only slightly related to overt behaviors than that attitudes will be closely related to actions’

\citep[p.~65]{wicker:1969_attitudes}

‘Only rarely can as much as 10% of the variance in overt behavioral measures be accounted for by attitudinal data.

In studies in which data are dichotomized, substantial proportions of subjects show attitude-behavior discrepancies. This is true even when subjects scoring at the extremes of attitudinal measures are compared on behavioral indices.’

(\citealp[p.~65]{wicker:1969_attitudes} quoted by \citealp[p.~51]{skitka:2008_moral}).

Wicker 1969, p. 65

Let’s take one study in this tradition.

Participants: 36 males, 18 high/18 low prejudice scores

Measure prejudice and then allow subjects to administer electric shocks to opponents in a game.

Will more prejudiced subjects differentiate between Black and White opponents?

Background: ‘The traditional social learning model posits that a negative attitude [...] facilitates aggression toward a disliked person’

\citep[p.~209]{genthner:1973_physical}.

Results: ‘While the low-prejudiced subjects behaved in a relatively nonaggressive manner toward both the Black opponents and the White opponents, the high-prejudiced subjects aggressed equally against’ both

\citep[p.~209]{genthner:1973_physical}.

Genthner & Taylor, 1973 p. 209

That research is really old!

What’s the state of the art now

on whether attitudes predict behaviours?

As background to the issue about moral psychology and climate change, we first want to look at a more general question. Do ethical attitudes shape political behaviours? (If this is not true, then we risk barking up the wrong tree with climate change.)

1

‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes (Emler, 2003; Mullen & Skitka, 2006; Skitka, Bauman, & Sargis, 2005)’

\citep[p.~1]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 1

ok, let’s take a look ...

Skitka, Bauman, & Sargis, 2005

strong attitudes, moral vs nonmoral examples:

‘People’s feelings about various sports teams, their musical tastes, or even their relative preference for Mac versus PC operating systems could each easily be experienced as strong attitudes (extreme, certain, etc.), but would rarely be experienced as moral. People’s feelings about infanticide, female circumcision, abortion, or a host of political issues (gay marriage, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act), however, could be experienced as both strong and moral.’

\citep[p.~31]{skitka:2008_moral}

Skitka & Bauman, 2008 p. 31

Skitka, Bauman, & Sargis, 2005

‘we conducted four studies that examined whether strength of moral conviction predicted unique variance beyond other indices of attitude strength, such as attitude extremity, importance, certainty, and centrality, on a number of interpersonal measures’

\citep[p.~895]{skitka:2005_moral}

‘exploring whether people prefer greater social [studies 1 & 2; and physical: study 3] distance from attitudinally dissimilar others when the attitude domain was held with high rather than low moral conviction’

\citep[p.~899]{skitka:2005_moral}
Study 1 meausures, simplified:
[1] ‘attitude strength’: ‘the questionnaire asked how strongly participants felt about their identified problem (extremity), how important it was to them personally (importance), and how much it was related to how they see themselves as a person (centrality) on 5-point radio button2 scales with the point labels of not at all, slightly, moderately, much, and very much.‘
[2] ‘Moral conviction. Moral conviction was assessed with a single-item measure, specifically, “How much are your feelings about ______ con- nected to your core moral beliefs or convictions?” on a 5-point radio button scale with the point labels of not at all, slightly, moderately, much, and very much, where the blank was filled in with the participant’s self-reported most important issue.’
[3] Social distance. ‘Participants were asked the degree that they agreed or disagreed with different completions to the stem “I would be happy to have someone who did not share my views on (their identified most important issue) . . .”; sentence completions were “as President of the U.S.,” “as Governor of my state,” “as a neighbor,” “to come and work at the same place I do,” “as aroom mate,” “to marry into my family,” “as someone I would personally date,” “as my personal physician,” “as a close personal friend,” “as the owner of a store or restaurant I frequent,” “as the teacher of my children,” and “as my spiritual advisor.” Participants responded on 7-point radio button scales with the point labels of very much agree, moderately agree, slightly agree, uncertain, slightly disagree, moderately disagree, and very much disagree. \citep[p.~899]{skitka:2005_moral}

Skitka, Bauman, & Sargis, 2005

Results of Study 1:

‘The effect of moral conviction on social distance was robust when we controlled for the effects gender, age, attitudinal extremity, importance, and centrality’

\citep[p.~901]{skitka:2005_moral}

‘In contrast, participants were more tolerant of having a distant than an intimate relationship with an attitudinally dissimilar other, when the attitude dissimilarity was on an issue that the participant held with low moral conviction, results that held even when we controlled for attitude strength.’

\citep[p.~901]{skitka:2005_moral}

Background:

‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes (Emler, 2003; Mullen & Skitka, 2006; Skitka, Bauman, & Sargis, 2005)’

\citep[p.~1]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 1

We were taking a look at this reference. Does it support the authors’ claim? Not obviously. But I want you to think about it
For what it’s worth, I’m not satisfied. moral attitudes predict preferences for social and physical distance: seems only indirectly related to politics. (Politics is life.)
ok what about other potential sources?

Evidence?!

Never trust a philosopher scientist.

Do specifically moral attitudes influence voting behaviour?

‘moral conviction about candidate preferences also uniquely increased the odds of voting, even when controlling for effects of candidate preference, party identification, strength of candidate preference, strength of party identification, and demographic variables.

‘As strength of moral conviction about one’s candidate preference increased, so did the likelihood that one voted’

\citep[p.~42]{skitka:2008_moral}

Study 2: voting intentions

similar results.

In both studies: ‘the effects of moral conviction on political engagement were equally strong for those on the political right and left’

\citep[p.~50]{skitka:2008_moral}

Skitka & Bauman, 2008 pp. 42, 50

For a review on moral conviction covering some of the research on political behaviours, see \citet{skitka:2010_psychology}.
There is a tricky question about whether we know attempts to measure moral conviction succeed, which \citet[pp.~36--7]{skitka:2008_moral} discuss (‘it has been our goal to measure moral conviction without confounding this construct with other markers of attitude strength ...’). Although this is not covered in lectures, there is some overlap with the upcoming discussion of the validity of using the Moral Foundations Questionnaire for cross-cultural comparisons.
So: I think there is some evidence for this claim, but what about moral convictions linked specifically to climate change?

1

‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes (Emler, 2003; Mullen & Skitka, 2006; Skitka, Bauman, & Sargis, 2005)’

\citep[p.~1]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 1

What about political attitudes to climate change specifically?

\citep{doran:2019_consequence}

[consequences] ‘Overall, how positive or negative do you think the effects of climate change will be on [COUNTRY]?’.

[ethical concern] ‘Some people have moral concerns about climate change. For example, because they think that its harmful impacts are more likely to affect poorer countries, or because they feel a moral responsibility towards future generations. To what extent, if at all, do you have moral concerns about climate change?’

Doran et al, 2019 figure 2

‘Figure 2. Moral concerns about climate change across countries. Percentages of respondents choosing one of the answer options displayed above.’
Key thing to notice is just that there is some variance between countries, which will be important for disentangling effects of ethical concerns.
This was of framing the moral issue will be important later [because it appeals specifically to liberals, according to Feinberg & Willer]

[policies] ‘To what extent do you support or oppose the following policies in [COUNTRY]?’

Doran et al, 2019

Research question (simplified): to what extent will the consequences and ethics influence the policies?

Doran et al, 2019 figure 3

Results

‘individuals with strong moral concerns about climate change tend to be more likely to support climate policies.

moral concerns turned out to be substantially more important than consequence evaluations, explaining about twice as much of the variance.’

\citep[p.~622]{doran:2019_consequence}

Implication: ‘threat raising campaigns may not be the preferred strategy to encourage public engagement with climate change’

So: I think there is some evidence for this claim, although it is clearly a complex issue and much more could be said. My aim here is this: I hope you now at least understand how researchers have attempted to gather relevant evidence, and have some sense that the claim may be true.

1

‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes’

\citep[p.~1]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 1

Back to the overall question!

What do discoveries concerning human moral psychology imply for the feasibility of democratically mitigating climate change?

Plan:

Work through Feinberg & Willer, 2013 ‘The Moral Roots of Environmental Attitudes’

Next quote to analyse

2

‘Moral-foundations researchers have investigated the similarities and differences in morality among individuals across cultures (Haidt & Josephs, 2004). These researchers have found evidence for five fundamental domains of human morality’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

 
\section{Moral Foundations Theory: An Approach to Cultural Variations}
 
\section{Moral Foundations Theory: An Approach to Cultural Variations}

aims

‘a systematic theory of morality, explaining its origins, development, and cultural variations’

\citep[p.~368]{graham:2011_mapping}

It’s not all about harm.

e.g. food taboos; obedience

There may be cultural variations on what is ethical and what isn’t.

So we can’t assume in advance that we know what is ethical and what isn’t.

But if we don’t know what is ethical and what isn’t, how can we study cultural variations in it?

[nativism] ‘There is a first draft of the moral mind’

‘the human mind is organized in advance of experience so that it is prepared to learn values, norms, and behaviors related to a diverse set of recurrent adaptive social problems’ \citep[p.~63]{graham:2013_chapter}

[cultural learning] ‘The first draft of the moral mind gets edited during development within a culture’

[intuitionism] ‘Intuitions come first’ --- the Social Intuitionist Model is true

3a. ‘moral evaluations generally occur rapidly and automatically, products of relatively effortless, associative, heuristic processing that psychologists now refer to as System 1 thinking’ \citep[p.~66]{graham:2013_chapter} 3b. ‘moral reasoning is done primarily for socially strategic purposes’ \citep[p.~66]{graham:2013_chapter}
Let me pause here to illustrate the basic idea.

Haidt & Bjorklund, 2008 figure 4.1

While there’s a lot to say about this model, I want to bracket it for now because it doesn’t bear too directly on the main issues (although it is important).

[nativism] ‘There is a first draft of the moral mind’

[cultural learning] ‘The first draft of the moral mind gets edited during development within a culture’

[intuitionism] ‘Intuitions come first’ --- the Social Intuitionist Model is true

[pluralism] ‘There are many psychological foundations of morality’

\citep{graham:2019_moral}

Graham et al, 2019

Background: ‘intuitive ethics’ \citep{haidt:2004_intuitive,haidt:2007_when} claims that there are five evolutionarily ancient, psychologically basic abilities linked to: \begin{enumerate} \item harm/care \item fairness (including reciprocity) \item in-group loyalty \item respect for authorty \item purity, sanctity \end{enumerate}

Individual:

harm/care

fairness (including reciprocity)

Binding:

in-group loyalty

respect for authorty

[purity, sanctity]

[nativism] ‘There is a first draft of the moral mind’

[cultural learning] ‘The first draft of the moral mind gets edited during development within a culture’

[intuitionism] ‘Intuitions come first’ --- the Social Intuitionist Model is true

[pluralism] ‘There are many psychological foundations of morality’

\citep{graham:2019_moral}

Graham et al, 2019

It is not important to the theory that these be the only foundations, nor that these be exactly the foundations (perhaps one is wrong, and should be replaced by two different ideas). For example, the theory has some difficulties with Libertarians ... ‘Libertarians have a unique moral-psychological profile, endorsing the principle of liberty as an end and devaluing many of the moral concerns typically endorsed by liberals or conservatives’ \citep[p~21]{iyer:2012_understanding}. ‘Does that mean that libertarians have no morality---or, at least, less concern with moral issues than liberals or conservatives? Or might it be that their core moral value was simply not represented among the five foundations measured by the MFQ? ... MFT’s five moral foundations appeared to be inadequate in capturing libertarians’ moral concerns, but the approach that gave birth to these foundations served us well in examining this new group, and stimulated us to consider Liberty/oppression as a candidate for addition to our list of foundations’ \citep[p.~87]{graham:2013_chapter}.
The individual/binding distinction is probably stable tho.
Some focus just on harm and purity. This might actually be a better approximation given methodological limits.

2

‘Moral-foundations researchers have investigated the similarities and differences in morality among individuals across cultures (Haidt & Josephs, 2004). These researchers have found evidence for five fundamental domains of human morality’

\citep[p.~1]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 1

Very important for philosophers. They aren’t allowed just to make it up.
Big point: we have a method for identifying moral abilities that doesn’t depend on prior assumptions about what counts as ethical.

Moral Foundations Questionnaire

Example: Harm

[relevance] How morally relevant is each of the following?

How morally relevant is each of the following (not at all relevant, not very relevant, slightly relevant, somewhat relevant, very relevant, extremely relevant)?

Whether or not someone suffered emotionally

Whether or not someone cared for someone weak or vulnerable

Whether or not someone was cruel

strongly disagree, moderately disagree, slightly disagree, slightly agree, moderately agree, strongly agree

[judgement] To what extent do you agree with each of the following?

Compassion for those who are suffering is the most crucial virtue.

One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenseless animal.

It can never be right to kill a human being

Basic requirements

- internal validity (roughly, do answers to the three questions appear to reflect a single underlying tendency)

‘The scale is internally consistent (both within and between two question formats)’ (between = relevance questions vs judgements)

Graham et al, 2011 figure 3 (part)

Confirmatory factor analysis

observed variables : answers to individual MFQ questions

latent factors : the five moral primitives

clear nontechnical intro to confirmatory factor analysis (& more): Gregorich, 20006

For a clear, nontechnical intro to confirmatory factor analysis (and factorial invariance concepts, which we’ll get to later), see \citet[pp.~S78-S83]{gregorich:2006_selfreport} and \citet{lee:2018_testing}. (Note that you do not need to understand this, but doing so will help you to understand the evidence supporting, and threatening, applications of Moral Foundations Theory to cross-cultural comparison.)

Graham et al, 2011 figure 3 (part)

‘The five-factor model fit the data better (weighing both fit and parsimony) than competing models, and this five-factor representation provided a good fit for participants in 11 different world areas.’

\citep[p.~380]{graham:2011_mapping}

Graham et al, 2011 p. 380

‘[...] empirical support for the MFQ for the first time in a predominantly Muslim country. [...] the 5-factor model, although somewhat below the standard criteria of fitness, provided the best fit among the alternatives.

[...] one can conclude that, at least in non-English speaking countries, the MFQ is not the ideal device to measure the theoretical framework of the MFT’ \citep[p.~153]{yilmaz:2016_validation}.

Yilmaz et al, 2016 p. 153

Basic requirements

- internal validity (roughly, do answers to the three questions appear to reflect a single underlying tendency)

- Test–retest reliability (are you as an individual likely to give the same answers at widely-spaced intervals?)

- external validity (relation to other scales)

- measurement invariance [we’ll come to this later]

see \citep{lee:2018_testing} on measurement invariance

Do you see how the puzzle has been solved by MFT?

There may be cultural variations on what is ethical and what isn’t.

So we can’t assume in advance that we know what is ethical and what isn’t.

But if we don’t know what is ethical and what isn’t, how can we study cultural variations in it?

Does MFT answer this question?

fieldwork -> hypothetical model -> CFA -> revise model -> ...

an application: pathogens

[connecting evolution to MFT]: ‘pathogens are among the principle existential threats to organisms, so those who could best avoid pathogens would have enhanced evolutionary fitness. Van Vugt and Park contend that human groups develop unique practices for reducing pathogen exposure---particularly in how they prepare their foods and maintain their hygiene. When groups are exposed to the practices of a foreign culture, they may perceive its members as especially likely to carry pathogens that may contaminate one’s ingroup’ \citep[p.~93]{graham:2013_chapter}

van Leeuwen et al, 2012 figure 1

\citep[figure 1]{vanleeuwen:2012_regional}
Historical pathogen prevalence
‘binding foundations (mean of Ingroup/loyalty, Authority/respect, and Purity/sanctity). The data for contemporary pathogen prevalence showed a similar pattern.’
‘When controlling for GDP per capita, the pattern of correlations between historical pathogen prevalence and endorsement of moral foundations remained largely unchanged; however, contemporary pathogen prevalence was not significantly correlated with any of the moral foundations’ \citep{vanleeuwen:2012_regional}.

‘historical pathogen prevalence---even when controlling for individual-level variation in political orientation, gender, education, and age---significantly predicted endorsement of Ingroup/loyalty [stats removed], Authority/respect, and Purity/sanctity; it did not predict endorsement of Harm/care or Fairness/reciprocity’

\citep{vanleeuwen:2012_regional}

van Leeuwen et al, 2012

‘Participants were 120,778 adult visitors (42.0% female, median age=35 years) to the Web site YourMorals.org who completed the MFQ (Graham et al., 2011) and provided demographic data for country (for participants who moved to their current country at age 14 years or older, the country they grew up in was used instead, cf. Graham et al., 2011). Data from the MFQ were available for 147 countries for which historical pathogen prevalence data were available’
No invariance testing done!

Argument for pluralism

\subsection{Argument for Pluarlism} Moral Foundations Theory is pluralist (it postulates more than one foundation). A monist theory would likely identify harm, or something related to harm, as the one foundation. Why accept pluralism? Because ‘[p]urity/degradation judgments predict important thoughts and behaviors over and above Care/harm judgments. For instance, purity concerns uniquely predict (beyond other foundations and demographics such as political ideology) culture-war attitudes about gay marriage, euthanasia, abortion, and pornography (Koleva et al., 2012). Purity also predicts opposition to stem cell research (Clifford & Jerit, 2013), environmental attitudes (Rottman, Kelemen, & Young, 2015), lawsuits (Buccafusco & Fagundes, 2015), and social distancing in real-world social networks (Dehghani et al., 2016)’ \citep{graham:2019_moral}.
‘Inconsistent with Moral Dyad Theory, our results did not support the prediction that Harm concerns would be the unequivocally most important predictor of sacrifice endorsement. Consistent with Moral Foundations Theory, however, multiple moral values are predictive of sacrifice judgments: Harm and Purity negatively predict, and Ingroup positively predicts, endorsement of harmful action in service of saving lives, with Harm and Purity explaining similar amounts of unique variance. The present study demonstrates the utility of pluralistic accounts of morality, even in moral situations in which harm is central (Crone & Laham, 2015)’ \citep{graham:2019_moral} on \citep{crone:2015_multiple}.

2

‘Moral-foundations researchers have investigated the similarities and differences in morality among individuals across cultures (Haidt & Josephs, 2004). These researchers have found evidence for five fundamental domains of human morality’

\citep[p.~1]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 1

Next quote to analyse

3

‘liberals and conservatives possess different moral profiles regarding the five moral foundations’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

\citep[figure 1a]{vanleeuwen:2009_perceptions}

van Leeuwen & Parks, 2009 figure 1a

Subjects are Dutch students
\citep[figure 1b]{vanleeuwen:2009_perceptions}

van Leeuwen & Parks, 2009 figure 1b

Implicit measure: IAT test of conservative and liberal concepts; which are implicitly associated with good things?

Graham et al, 2009 figure 1

Also works with a web sample collected in USA \citep[figure~1]{graham:2009_liberals}

Graham et al, 2009 figure 3

Graham et al, 2009 figure 2

‘We tested whether the effects of political identity persisted after partialing out variation in moral relevance ratings for other demographic variables. We created a model representing the five foundations as latent factors measured by three manifest variables each, simultaneously predicted by political identity and four covariates: age, gender, education level, and income. [...] Including the covariates, political identity still predicted all five foundations in the predicted direction [...]. Political identity was the key explanatory variable: It was the only consistent significant predictor [...] for all five foundations’ \citep[p.~1032]{graham:2009_liberals}

3

‘liberals and conservatives possess different moral profiles regarding the five moral foundations’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

Is there any conflicting research? Yes!

Davies et al, 2014

New Zealand

MFT model supported by Confirmatory Factor Analysis

Harm and Fairness not linked to socially conservative/liberal.

Using participants in New Zealand, \citet[p.~434]{davies:2014_confirmatory} found that ‘Although Harm/care and Fairness/reciprocity showed significant negative correlations with conservatism, these relationships were weak, indicating that these foundations are not related to ideology. [...] the individualizing foundation results are surprising, and different to those found by Graham et al. (2011).’

‘We hypothesized that the binding moral foundations would show a weaker relationship with political conservatism in Black people than in White people. Across two independent samples, we found support for this hypothesis’

\citep[p.~e29]{davis:2016_moral}

‘some of the current items may conflate moral foundations with other constructs such as religiosity or racial identity.’

\citep[p.~e29]{davis:2016_moral}

Davis et al, 2016

Is there any more conflicting research?

Kugler et al, 2014 figure 2

‘subjective’ conceptions vs. ‘a more independent, objective perspective’
‘Fig. 2 Trimmed path model illustrating that right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation mediate the relationship between political orientation and moral intuitions. Path coefficients are standardized regression coefficients of the trimmed model. Broken lines indicate non-significant paths at p<.05’
SDO : social dominance orientation
RWA : right-wing authoritarianism

‘This article [distinguishes] between subjective conceptions of morality (which are, after all, indistinguishable from mere moralizing) and morality from a more independent, objective perspective’

My sense: recognising diversity in ethical systems does not, of course, imply approval of them.
‘This article [distinguishes] between subjective conceptions of morality (which are, after all, indistinguishable from mere moralizing) and morality from a more independent, objective perspective [...] the moral valuation of ingroup loyalty, obedience to authority, and purity concerns is associated with attitudes and belief systems that may be considered prejudicial and therefore morally unsavory liberal-conservative differences in the endorsement of these three ‘binding’ intuitions may be attributable, at least in part, to the fact that conservatives tend to be higher than liberals on authoritarianism. Furthermore, liberal-conservative differences in the endorsement of fairness and avoidance of harm are attributable to the fact that liberals tend to be lower than conservatives on social dominance orientation [...] The fact that these two types of moral concerns have opposite effects on intergroup hostility and support for discrimination against foreigners and immigrants raises questions about the assumption that ‘binding’ and ‘individualizing’ (or perhaps ‘humanistic’ concerns) should be treated as operating on the same moral plane, objectively speaking’ \citep[p.~416]{kugler:2014_another}.

Graham et al, 2013 table 2.1

Note the claim that moral foundations arose in evolutionary history as solutions to specific challenges faced by humans’ ancestors.
There is no obvious contradiction between accepting this and also endorsing Kugler et al’s claims (if you can make sense of their claim to a ‘more independent, objective perspective’.)

Is there even more conflicting research?

‘harm is central in moral cognition across moral diversity for both liberals and conservatives’

\citep[p.~1158]{schein:2015_unifying}.

We found evidence for ‘a common dyadic template than with a specific number of distinct moral mechanisms that are differentially expressed across liberals and conservatives’

\citep[p.~1158]{schein:2015_unifying}.

Schein & Gray, 2015 p. 1158

Is there yet more conflicting research?

Recall the basic requirements from earlier

Basic requirements

- internal validity (roughly, do answers to the three questions appear to reflect a single underlying tendency)

- Test–retest reliability (are you as an individual likely to give the same answers at widely-spaced intervals?)

- external validity (relation to other scales)

- measurement invariance [we’ll come to this later]

see \citep{lee:2018_testing} on measurement invariance

‘A finding of measurement invariance would provide more confidence that use of the MFQ across cultures can shed light on meaningful differences between cultures rather than merely reflecting the measurement properties of the MFQ’

\citep[p.~2]{iurino:2018_testing}

Iurino & Saucier, 2018 p. 2

I’m not mentioning their study because they note some limits of their sample and methodology.

Does Moral Foundations Theory provide a model that is invariant?

Davies et al, 2014 : metric invariance for gender groups

(scalar invariance not tested)

Davis et al, 2014 : metric but not scalar invariance for Black vs White people

\citep{davis:2016_moral} found metric but not scalar invariance

Dogruyol et al, 2019 : metric non-invariance for WEIRD/non-WEIRD samples

‘the five-factor model of MFQ revealed a good fit to the data on both WEIRD and non-WEIRD samples. Besides, the five-factor model yielded a better fit to the data as compared to the two-factor model of MFQ. Measurement invariance test across samples validated factor structure for the five-factor model, yet a comparison of samples provided metric non-invariance implying that item loadings are different across groups [...] although the same statements tap into the same moral foundations in each case, the strength of the link between the statements and the foundations were different in WEIRD and non-WEIRD cultures’ \citep{dogruyol:2019_fivefactor}.

‘across subscales, there were problems with scalar invariance, which suggests that researchers may need to carefully consider whether this scale is working similarly across groups before conducting mean comparisons’

\citep[p.~e27]{davis:2016_moral}

Davis et al, 2016 p. e27

Graham et al, 2009 figure 1

Are the differences in means measurement artefacts?

On balance, this seems likely.

There is a risk of building a theory on measurement artefacts.

‘entire literatures can develop on the basis of faulty measurement assumptions.’

\citep[p.~128]{davis:2017_purity}

Davis et al, 2017 p. 128

Stop.

On balance, MFT seems to be supported by a growing body of evidence.

Although limited, MFT is probably useful and there is no better alternative.

Is there any conflicting research? Yes, plenty!

3

‘liberals and conservatives possess different moral profiles regarding the five moral foundations’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

4

‘we hypothesized that liberals express greater levels of environmental concern than do conservatives in part because liberals are more likely to view environmental issues in moral terms’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 figure 1

Fig. 1. Results from Study 1a: mean morality rating as a function of political ideology (liberal = 1 SD below the mean; conservative = 1 SD above the mean) and experimental condition. Error bars represent ±1 SEM.

4

‘we hypothesized that liberals express greater levels of environmental concern than do conservatives in part because liberals are more likely to view environmental issues in moral terms’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

How do they justify this claim? I think the argument is indirect.

5

‘we hypothesized that exposing conservatives to proenvironmental appeals based on moral concerns that uniquely resonate with them will lead them to view the environment in moral terms and be more supportive of proenvironmental efforts.’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

Background

Study 2: ‘Content analyses of environmental rhetoric from both video and print media revealed that such rhetoric resides primarily within the harm/care moral domain’

\citep[p.~4]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 4

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 figure 2

Fig. 2. Results from Study 3: mean proenvironmental attitude as a function of moral-messaging condition and political ideology (liberal = 1 SD below the mean; conservative = 1 SD above the mean). Asterisks indicate significant differences between groups (p < .001). Error bars represent ±1 SEM.

5

‘we hypothesized that exposing conservatives to proenvironmental appeals based on moral concerns that uniquely resonate with them will lead them to view the environment in moral terms and be more supportive of proenvironmental efforts.’

\citep[p.~2]{feinberg:2013_moral}

Feinberg & Willer, 2013 p. 2

conclusion

In conclusion, ...

1. ‘Moral convictions and the emotions they evoke shape political attitudes’

2. There are at least two fundamental domains of human morality, including harm and purity.

3. ‘liberals and conservatives possess different moral profiles’

4. ‘liberals express greater levels of environmental concern than do conservatives in part because liberals are more likely to view environmental issues in moral terms.’

5. ‘exposing conservatives to proenvironmental appeals based on moral concerns that uniquely resonate with them will lead them to view the environment in moral terms and be more supportive of proenvironmental efforts.’

from a critic!

‘It would be difficult to overestimate the influence of this theory on psychological science because it caused a dramatic broadening in conceptualization of morality beyond narrow Western notions that have focused on individualistic virtues associated with protecting one’s rights---especially prevention of harm (Gilligan, 1982) and unjust treatment (Kohlberg, 1969).

The expansion of morality psychology to more collectivistic domains has led to substantial research into the role of morality in the political environment. More specifically, there is significant support for the moral foundations hypothesis that predicts that conservatives tend to draw on virtues associated with binding communities more than liberals (Graham et al., 2009; Graham et al., 2011; Koleva et al., 2012)’

Davis et al, 2017 p. 128