Moral Mind-Sets: Abstract Thinking Increases a Preference for "Individualizing" Over "Binding" Moral Foundations

Jaime L. Napier, Jamie B. Luguri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Moral foundations theory contends that people's morality goes beyond concerns about justice and welfare, and asserts that humans have five innate foundations of morality: harm and fairness (individualizing foundations) and in-group loyalty, deference to authority, and purity (binding foundations). The current research investigates whether people's moral judgments are consistently informed by these five values, or whether individualizing and binding foundations might be differentially endorsed depending on individuals' mind-sets. Results from our study demonstrated that when participants were experimentally manipulated to think abstractly (vs. concretely), which presumably makes their higher level core values salient, they increased in their valuations of the individualizing foundations and decreased in their valuations of the binding foundations. This effect was not moderated by political ideology. Implications and areas for future directions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013



  • construal level
  • mind-set
  • moral foundations
  • morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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