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Real-time elicitation of moral emotions using a prejudice paradigm

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Moral emotions are critically important in guiding appropriate social conduct. Empirical investigation of these emotions remains a challenge, however, because of the difficulty in eliciting them reliably in controlled settings. Here we describe a novel prejudice paradigm that aimed to elicit both negatively and positively valenced moral emotions in real-time. Low-prejudice females (N = 46) who met highly specific demographic and personality-based screening criteria completed a series of Implicit Association Tests (IATs). Feedback following these IATs was pre-programmed to either endorse participants' non-prejudiced self-standards (positive condition), or to contradict their self-standards (negative condition), in response to sensitive social topics. Neutral condition IATs reflected participants' attitudes toward non-sensitive social topics. Results demonstrated that the IATs were successful in eliciting moral-positive emotions (satisfaction and pride) and moral-negative emotions (primarily guilt). In addition, participants high in self-reported punishment sensitivity, as assessed by the Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) scale, reported greater guilt. © 2012 Fourie, Kilchenmann, Malcolm-Smith and Thomas.




Fourie, M. M., Kilchenmann, N., Malcolm-Smith, S., & Thomas, K. G. F. (2012). Real-time elicitation of moral emotions using a prejudice paradigm. Frontiers in Psychology, 3(AUG).

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