Conservatives moral foundations are more densely connected than liberals’ moral foundations

F.M. Turner-Zwinkels*, B.B. Johnson, C.G. Sibley, M.J. Brandt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

We use network psychometrics to map a subsection of moral belief systems predicted by moral foundations theory (MFT). This approach conceptualizes moral systems as networks, with moral beliefs represented as nodes connected by direct relations. As such, it advances a novel test of MFT's claim that liberals and conservatives have different systems of foundational moral values, which we test in three large datasets (N-Sample1 = 854; N-Sample2 = 679; N-Sample3 = 2,572), from two countries (the United States and New Zealand). Results supported our first hypothesis that liberals' moral systems show more segregation between individualizing and binding foundations than conservatives. Results showed only weak support for our second hypothesis, that this pattern would be more typical of higher educated than less educated liberals/conservatives. Findings support a systems approach to MFT and show the value of modeling moral belief systems as networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-184
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Volume47
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • ASSOCIATION
  • ATTITUDES
  • EDUCATION
  • IDEOLOGY
  • MOTIVES
  • NETWORK-THEORY
  • PSYCHOLOGY
  • VALIDITY
  • belief systems
  • moral foundations
  • networks
  • political ideology

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