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Morals for the sake of movement: Locomotion and sensitivity to norms in moral dilemmas

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • J.F.M. Cornwell
  • A.F. Bella
Article number104322
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Number of pages6
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date23/03/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Recent research on moral dilemmas has delineated preferences for utilitarian vs. deontological judgments along three parameters: sensitivity to consequences, sensitivity to norms, and general preferences for inaction (Gawronski et al., 2017; Körner, et al., 2020). However, research has not yet determined whether motivational differences contribute to these three parameters in moral judgment. Across two studies, using regulatory mode theory, we demonstrate that a motivation to initiate and sustain smooth movement (locomotion), independent of a motive to engage in critical evaluation and reflection (assessment), is associated with greater sensitivity to norms in moral judgments. We demonstrate this association through both a chronic measure of individual differences (Study 1), and through a preregistered experimental induction (Study 2). Implications of our findings for moral judgment and motivation are discussed. © 2022