Moral elevation increases support for humanitarian policies, but not political concessions, in intractable conflict

Deborah Shulman, Eran Halperin, Ziv Elron, Michal Reifen Tagar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Moral elevation is an emotional experience elicited after witnessing acts of exceptional moral goodness and involves feeling moved and inspired. Previous research has demonstrated that experiences of moral elevation can lead to increased altruism. We examined whether the benefits of moral elevation on prosocial intentions extend to the context of intractable intergroup conflict, by testing whether moral elevation increases support for outgroup-favorable policies. We hypothesized that moral elevation would increase support for humanitarian policies, but not political concessions, as only the former are considered to be within the moral domain. To test this, we ran three studies in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a preregistered replication, and found overall support for our hypothesis. This research is the first to demonstrate that moral elevation can play an important role in the context of intractable conflict by increasing support for alleviating outgroup suffering, but it also suggests that the effect of elevation is limited in that it does not extend to increasing support for political compromises.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number104113
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume94
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Keywords

  • Humanitarian policies
  • Intergroup conflict
  • Moral elevation
  • Morality
  • Political concessions

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