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From sucker to saint: moralization in response to self-threat.
Psychol Sci. 2008 Aug; 19(8):809-15.PS

Abstract

When people's rationality and agency are implicitly called into question by the more expedient behavior of others, they sometimes respond by feeling morally superior; this is referred to as the sucker-to-saint effect. In Experiment 1, participants who completed a tedious task and then saw a confederate quit the same task elevated their own morality over that of the confederate, whereas participants who simply completed the task or simply saw the confederate quit did not. In Experiment 2, this effect was eliminated by having participants contemplate a valued personal quality before encountering the rebellious confederate, a result suggesting a role for self-threat in producing moralization. These studies demonstrate that moral judgments can be more deeply embedded in judges' immediate social contexts-and driven more by motivations to maintain self-image-than is typically appreciated in contemporary moral-psychology research. Rather than uphold abstract principles of justice, moral judgment may sometimes just help people feel a little less foolish.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA. alex.jordan@stanford.eduNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

Language

eng

PubMed ID

18816289

Citation

Jordan, Alexander H., and Benoît Monin. "From Sucker to Saint: Moralization in Response to Self-threat." Psychological Science, vol. 19, no. 8, 2008, pp. 809-15.
Jordan AH, Monin B. From sucker to saint: moralization in response to self-threat. Psychol Sci. 2008;19(8):809-15.
Jordan, A. H., & Monin, B. (2008). From sucker to saint: moralization in response to self-threat. Psychological Science, 19(8), 809-15. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02161.x
Jordan AH, Monin B. From Sucker to Saint: Moralization in Response to Self-threat. Psychol Sci. 2008;19(8):809-15. PubMed PMID: 18816289.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - From sucker to saint: moralization in response to self-threat. AU - Jordan,Alexander H, AU - Monin,Benoît, PY - 2008/9/26/pubmed PY - 2009/1/16/medline PY - 2008/9/26/entrez SP - 809 EP - 15 JF - Psychological science JO - Psychol Sci VL - 19 IS - 8 N2 - When people's rationality and agency are implicitly called into question by the more expedient behavior of others, they sometimes respond by feeling morally superior; this is referred to as the sucker-to-saint effect. In Experiment 1, participants who completed a tedious task and then saw a confederate quit the same task elevated their own morality over that of the confederate, whereas participants who simply completed the task or simply saw the confederate quit did not. In Experiment 2, this effect was eliminated by having participants contemplate a valued personal quality before encountering the rebellious confederate, a result suggesting a role for self-threat in producing moralization. These studies demonstrate that moral judgments can be more deeply embedded in judges' immediate social contexts-and driven more by motivations to maintain self-image-than is typically appreciated in contemporary moral-psychology research. Rather than uphold abstract principles of justice, moral judgment may sometimes just help people feel a little less foolish. SN - 1467-9280 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/18816289/From_sucker_to_saint:_moralization_in_response_to_self_threat_ L2 - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02161.x?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub=pubmed DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -