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Reexamining the Moral Foundations of Liberals and Conservatives: A Coalitional/Evolutionary Psychology Perspective

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Abstract:

Moral Foundations Theorists attribute liberal-conservative differences to varying moral commitments, finding liberals driven by “individualizing” foundations (harm/care, fairness/reciprocity) and conservatives by “binding” foundations (authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty, purity/sanctity) (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009). Whereas Haidt (2008) sees the binding foundations as the moral impetus to suppress selfishness and enable communal life, others see mere authoritarianism and social dominance striving (Federico, et al., ISPP 2010). The present paper adopts a coalitional framework from evolutionary psychology (Tooby & Cosmides, 2010) and argues that conservative morality enables a particular kind of communal life that prepares for/fosters intergroup conflict. Study 1 (n=137) finds that a binding-focused morality predicts belief in a competitive world (r=.23), perception of social/normative threats (r = .37), a desire to impose American values (r = .32), and a distrust of negotiations (r=-.16). Additionally, a binding focus predicts support for an authoritarian crack-down on immigrants (r=.35) and a rejection of collective responsibility for the poor (r = -.30). Study 2 (n=137) finds a binding focus again correlated with social/normative threat perceptions (r = .45), Right Wing Authoritarianism (r =.65), and Social Dominance Orientation (r=.36). Consequently, the paper argues for relabeling the binding foundations as “binding and dividing” to emphasize the coalitional dynamic. The paper challenges the typical construal of binding foundations as purely communal because it ignores their agonistic dimensions. The paper addresses the conference theme of “identity politics and politicized identities” by connecting fundamental moral commitments to the coalitional identities. frequently at the root of political conflict and war.

Author's Keywords:

moral foundations theory, ideology, morality, right-wing authoritarianism, political psychology, evolutionary psychology, coalitional, intergroup conflict
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Association:
Name: ISPP 35th Annual Scientific Meeting
URL:
http://ispp.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p570940_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sinn, Jeff. and Hayes, Matt. "Reexamining the Moral Foundations of Liberals and Conservatives: A Coalitional/Evolutionary Psychology Perspective" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISPP 35th Annual Scientific Meeting, Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL, Jul 06, 2012 <Not Available>. 2014-12-12 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p570940_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sinn, J. S. and Hayes, M. W. , 2012-07-06 "Reexamining the Moral Foundations of Liberals and Conservatives: A Coalitional/Evolutionary Psychology Perspective" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the ISPP 35th Annual Scientific Meeting, Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL <Not Available>. 2014-12-12 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p570940_index.html

Publication Type: Paper (prepared oral presentation)
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Moral Foundations Theorists attribute liberal-conservative differences to varying moral commitments, finding liberals driven by “individualizing” foundations (harm/care, fairness/reciprocity) and conservatives by “binding” foundations (authority/respect, ingroup/loyalty, purity/sanctity) (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009). Whereas Haidt (2008) sees the binding foundations as the moral impetus to suppress selfishness and enable communal life, others see mere authoritarianism and social dominance striving (Federico, et al., ISPP 2010). The present paper adopts a coalitional framework from evolutionary psychology (Tooby & Cosmides, 2010) and argues that conservative morality enables a particular kind of communal life that prepares for/fosters intergroup conflict. Study 1 (n=137) finds that a binding-focused morality predicts belief in a competitive world (r=.23), perception of social/normative threats (r = .37), a desire to impose American values (r = .32), and a distrust of negotiations (r=-.16). Additionally, a binding focus predicts support for an authoritarian crack-down on immigrants (r=.35) and a rejection of collective responsibility for the poor (r = -.30). Study 2 (n=137) finds a binding focus again correlated with social/normative threat perceptions (r = .45), Right Wing Authoritarianism (r =.65), and Social Dominance Orientation (r=.36). Consequently, the paper argues for relabeling the binding foundations as “binding and dividing” to emphasize the coalitional dynamic. The paper challenges the typical construal of binding foundations as purely communal because it ignores their agonistic dimensions. The paper addresses the conference theme of “identity politics and politicized identities” by connecting fundamental moral commitments to the coalitional identities. frequently at the root of political conflict and war.


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