Prejudice with a conscience: How a strong moral identity relates to greater prejudice

Moira P Shaw, University of Texas at El Paso

Abstract

The present research investigated the effects of moral licensing on prejudice for participants with a strong moral identity. It predicted that, because people with a stronger moral identity are especially motivated to be moral, they would be strongly affected by moral licensing effects on prejudice. Three experiments tested this prediction by measuring moral identity, experimentally manipulating and measuring three sources of moral license (moral affirmation, moral superiority, and moral threat), and measuring inter-group prejudice. The results demonstrated that with moral affirmation and moral superiority, a strong moral identity relates to greater prejudice (Experiment 1), moral superiority moderates the relation between moral identity and prejudice both when it is a sense of general moral superiority and when it implies superiority to a set of out-groups (Experiment 2), and with moral affirmation a stronger moral identity relates to greater implicit prejudice towards Middle Eastern Muslims (Experiment 3). The implications of the roles of moral identity and moral licensing in inter-group relations are discussed. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social

Recommended Citation

Shaw, Moira P, "Prejudice with a conscience: How a strong moral identity relates to greater prejudice" (2010). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3409168.
http://digitalcommons.utep.edu/dissertations/AAI3409168

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