Judging near and distant virtue and vice

Tal Eyal, Nira Liberman, Yaacov Trope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We propose that people judge immoral acts as more offensive and moral acts as more virtuous when the acts are psychologically distant than near. This is because people construe more distant situations in terms of moral principles, rather than attenuating situation-specific considerations. Results of four studies support these predictions. Study 1 shows that more temporally distant transgressions (e.g., eating one's dead dog) are construed in terms of moral principles rather than contextual information. Studies 2 and 3 further show that morally offensive actions are judged more severely when imagined from a more distant temporal (Study 2) or social (Study 3) perspective. Finally, Study 4 shows that moral acts (e.g., adopting a disabled child) are judged more positively from temporal distance. The findings suggest that people more readily apply their moral principles to distant rather than proximal behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1204-1209
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume44
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Fingerprint

Time and Motion Studies
Disabled Children
Eating
Dogs
social studies
eating behavior

Keywords

  • Construal level theory
  • Moral judgment
  • Psychological distance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

Cite this

Judging near and distant virtue and vice. / Eyal, Tal; Liberman, Nira; Trope, Yaacov.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 44, No. 4, 07.2008, p. 1204-1209.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Eyal, Tal ; Liberman, Nira ; Trope, Yaacov. / Judging near and distant virtue and vice. In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 2008 ; Vol. 44, No. 4. pp. 1204-1209.
@article{8da88c4d87824d59bd788d720da671ef,
title = "Judging near and distant virtue and vice",
abstract = "We propose that people judge immoral acts as more offensive and moral acts as more virtuous when the acts are psychologically distant than near. This is because people construe more distant situations in terms of moral principles, rather than attenuating situation-specific considerations. Results of four studies support these predictions. Study 1 shows that more temporally distant transgressions (e.g., eating one's dead dog) are construed in terms of moral principles rather than contextual information. Studies 2 and 3 further show that morally offensive actions are judged more severely when imagined from a more distant temporal (Study 2) or social (Study 3) perspective. Finally, Study 4 shows that moral acts (e.g., adopting a disabled child) are judged more positively from temporal distance. The findings suggest that people more readily apply their moral principles to distant rather than proximal behaviors.",
keywords = "Construal level theory, Moral judgment, Psychological distance",
author = "Tal Eyal and Nira Liberman and Yaacov Trope",
year = "2008",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1016/j.jesp.2008.03.012",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "44",
pages = "1204--1209",
journal = "Journal of Experimental Social Psychology",
issn = "0022-1031",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Judging near and distant virtue and vice

AU - Eyal, Tal

AU - Liberman, Nira

AU - Trope, Yaacov

PY - 2008/7

Y1 - 2008/7

N2 - We propose that people judge immoral acts as more offensive and moral acts as more virtuous when the acts are psychologically distant than near. This is because people construe more distant situations in terms of moral principles, rather than attenuating situation-specific considerations. Results of four studies support these predictions. Study 1 shows that more temporally distant transgressions (e.g., eating one's dead dog) are construed in terms of moral principles rather than contextual information. Studies 2 and 3 further show that morally offensive actions are judged more severely when imagined from a more distant temporal (Study 2) or social (Study 3) perspective. Finally, Study 4 shows that moral acts (e.g., adopting a disabled child) are judged more positively from temporal distance. The findings suggest that people more readily apply their moral principles to distant rather than proximal behaviors.

AB - We propose that people judge immoral acts as more offensive and moral acts as more virtuous when the acts are psychologically distant than near. This is because people construe more distant situations in terms of moral principles, rather than attenuating situation-specific considerations. Results of four studies support these predictions. Study 1 shows that more temporally distant transgressions (e.g., eating one's dead dog) are construed in terms of moral principles rather than contextual information. Studies 2 and 3 further show that morally offensive actions are judged more severely when imagined from a more distant temporal (Study 2) or social (Study 3) perspective. Finally, Study 4 shows that moral acts (e.g., adopting a disabled child) are judged more positively from temporal distance. The findings suggest that people more readily apply their moral principles to distant rather than proximal behaviors.

KW - Construal level theory

KW - Moral judgment

KW - Psychological distance

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=44649084222&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=44649084222&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.jesp.2008.03.012

DO - 10.1016/j.jesp.2008.03.012

M3 - Article

VL - 44

SP - 1204

EP - 1209

JO - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

JF - Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

SN - 0022-1031

IS - 4

ER -