The nature of the cognitive processes that give rise to moral judgment and behavior has been a central question of psychology for decades. In this paper, we suggest that an often ignored yet fruitful stream of research for informing current debates on the nature of moral cognition is social influence. We introduce what we call the “social-moderation-of-process” perspective, a methodological framework for leveraging insights from social influence research to inform debates in moral psychology over the mechanisms underlying moral cognition and the moral domains in which those mechanisms operate. We demonstrate the utility of the social-moderation-of-process perspective by providing a detailed example of how research on social influence in behavioral ethics can be utilized to test a research question related to a debate between two prominent theories in moral psychology. We then detail how researchers across the field of moral psychology can utilize our social-moderation-of-process perspective.
Lees, J., & Gino, F. (2017). Is the moral domain unique? A social influence perspective for the study of moral cognition. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1111/spc3.12327