The Social and Political Implications of Moral Conviction – Professor Linda Skitka (University of Illinois at Chicago)

December 2, 2020 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
via zoom
David Young

Scholars often assume that some issues globally evoke moral reactions, whether these issues are presented as moral dilemmas (e.g., trolley problems) or as controversial issues of the day (e.g., the legal status of abortion). There is considerable individual variation, however, in the degree that people report that their position on specific issues reflects their core moral convictions. Moreover, the degree to which people experience an attitude as a moral conviction has important social and political consequences, such as predicting increased political engagement (voting, activism, volunteerism), inoculation against the usual pressures to obey authorities and the law, resistance to majority influence, unwillingness to compromise, and greater acceptance of violent solutions to conflict. The normative implications of these and other findings are both reassuring (moral convictions can protect against obedience to potentially malevolent authorities) and terrifying (moral convictions are associated with rejection of the rule of law and can provide a motivational foundation for violent protest and acts of terrorism). Implications and directions for future research will be discussed.

Professor Skitka is a Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Zoom link to follow.

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