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Proscriptive versus prescriptive morality: two faces of moral regulation.
J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009 Mar; 96(3):521-37.JP

Abstract

A distinction is made between two forms of morality on the basis of approach-avoidance differences in self-regulation. Prescriptive morality is sensitive to positive outcomes, activation-based, and focused on what we should do. Proscriptive morality is sensitive to negative outcomes, inhibition-based, and focused on what we should not do. Seven studies profile these two faces of morality, support their distinct motivational underpinnings, and provide evidence of moral asymmetry. Both are well-represented in individuals' moral repertoire and equivalent in terms of moral weight, but proscriptive morality is condemnatory and strict, whereas prescriptive morality is commendatory and not strict. More specifically, in these studies proscriptive morality was perceived as concrete, mandatory, and duty-based, whereas prescriptive morality was perceived as more abstract, discretionary, and based in duty or desire; proscriptive immorality resulted in greater blame, whereas prescriptive morality resulted in greater moral credit. Implications for broader social regulation, including cross-cultural differences and political orientation, are discussed.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA,USA. janbul@psych.umass.eduNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19254101

Citation

Janoff-Bulman, Ronnie, et al. "Proscriptive Versus Prescriptive Morality: Two Faces of Moral Regulation." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 96, no. 3, 2009, pp. 521-37.
Janoff-Bulman R, Sheikh S, Hepp S. Proscriptive versus prescriptive morality: two faces of moral regulation. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009;96(3):521-37.
Janoff-Bulman, R., Sheikh, S., & Hepp, S. (2009). Proscriptive versus prescriptive morality: two faces of moral regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(3), 521-37. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0013779
Janoff-Bulman R, Sheikh S, Hepp S. Proscriptive Versus Prescriptive Morality: Two Faces of Moral Regulation. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2009;96(3):521-37. PubMed PMID: 19254101.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Proscriptive versus prescriptive morality: two faces of moral regulation. AU - Janoff-Bulman,Ronnie, AU - Sheikh,Sana, AU - Hepp,Sebastian, PY - 2009/3/4/entrez PY - 2009/3/4/pubmed PY - 2009/5/14/medline SP - 521 EP - 37 JF - Journal of personality and social psychology JO - J Pers Soc Psychol VL - 96 IS - 3 N2 - A distinction is made between two forms of morality on the basis of approach-avoidance differences in self-regulation. Prescriptive morality is sensitive to positive outcomes, activation-based, and focused on what we should do. Proscriptive morality is sensitive to negative outcomes, inhibition-based, and focused on what we should not do. Seven studies profile these two faces of morality, support their distinct motivational underpinnings, and provide evidence of moral asymmetry. Both are well-represented in individuals' moral repertoire and equivalent in terms of moral weight, but proscriptive morality is condemnatory and strict, whereas prescriptive morality is commendatory and not strict. More specifically, in these studies proscriptive morality was perceived as concrete, mandatory, and duty-based, whereas prescriptive morality was perceived as more abstract, discretionary, and based in duty or desire; proscriptive immorality resulted in greater blame, whereas prescriptive morality resulted in greater moral credit. Implications for broader social regulation, including cross-cultural differences and political orientation, are discussed. SN - 0022-3514 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19254101/Proscriptive_versus_prescriptive_morality:_two_faces_of_moral_regulation_ L2 - http://content.apa.org/journals/psp/96/3/521 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -