An intergroup perspective on attitude moralization


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Attitude moralization is a social psychological phenomenon with many far-reaching implications for individuals, groups, and society. It refers to a process in which people’s attitudes toward societal issues become more strongly connected to their fundamental beliefs about right and wrong, and core values. For instance, people may come to believe that gender inequality or human-caused climate change “is morally wrong and unacceptable” and strongly oppose these issues because it is “a matter of moral principle”. Surprisingly, we know very little about the psychology behind attitude moralization in the context of intergroup relations and conflicts. This is important because moralization is likely to be influenced by relations and conflicts between groups. Therefore, this dissertation offers an intergroup perspective on the study of attitude moralization. We propose that people may moralize societal issues in response to threatening events perpetrated by members of other groups. As such, people may moralize societal issues to protect their and their group’s values against external and “evil” attack. We tested these ideas by using different methods, contexts, and samples. We indeed found that people moralized issues (e.g., sexism, climate change) when they felt their own and their group’s values were violated by immoral members of other groups. Moreover, people moralized issues when undertaking collective action against an immoral opponent. However, people did not seem to moralize issues when similar violations were perpetrated by members of their own group. This research paves the road toward a broader understanding of moralization by integrating the role of the intergroup context.
Originele taal-2English
KwalificatieDoctor of Philosophy
Toekennende instantie
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
  • van Zomeren, Martijn, Supervisor
  • Gordijn, Ernestine, Supervisor
  • Reifen Tagar, Michal, Co-supervisor, Externe Persoon
Datum van toekenning4-dec.-2023
Plaats van publicatie[Groningen]
Gedrukte ISBN's978-94-6483-528-1
StatusPublished - 2023

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