Attitude moralization: Probably not intuitive or rooted in perceptions of harm

L.J. Skitka*, D.C. Wisneski, M.J. Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
266 Downloads (Pure)


People vary in the extent to which they imbue attitudes with moral conviction, and this variation is consequential. Yet we know relatively little about what makes people’s feelings about a given attitude object transform from a relatively non moral preference to a moral conviction. In this article, we review evidence from two experiments and a field study that sheds some light on the processes that lead to attitude moralization. This research explored the roles of incidental and integral affect, cognitive factors such as recognition of harm, and whether attitude-moralization processes can occur outside conscious awareness or require some level of conscious deliberation. The findings present some challenges to contemporary theories that emphasize the roles of intuition and harm and indicate that more research designed to better understand moralization processes is needed.
Keywords: morality, emotion, intuition, harm, moral conviction, dyadic morality, social intuitionism
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-13
JournalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • MIND
  • dyadic morality
  • emotion
  • harm
  • intuition
  • moral conviction
  • morality
  • social intuitionism


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