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“Then shall we carelessly allow the children to hear any old
stories… and to take beliefs into their souls that are for the
most part opposite to the ones we think they should hold
when they are grown up?”
–Socrates
in Plato’s
Republic Book II
Overview
•
•
•
•
Defining “Moral”
Media and Morality
Media as Moral Sandbox
Current and Potential Future Directions
Defining “Moral”
Past Conceptualizations of Morality
Based in Cognition
• We reason right and wrong
• Rational process
Examples
• Piaget and Kohlberg
• Cognitive development  More complex moral reasoning
• Bandura
• Morality is learned
Wrong or Right?*
A) A woman is cleaning out her closet and finds an American
flag. She doesn’t want it anymore, so she cuts it up and uses
the pieces as cleaning rags for her bathroom.
B) A family sees their dog get hit by a car. Instead of burying
the dog, they decide to butcher it and eat its meat.
C) A man goes to the super market once a week and buys a
chicken. He then takes the chicken home and has sex with it
before cooking and eating it.
*adapted from Haidt, Koller, & Dias, 1993
Current Conceptualizations of Morality
Moral Dumbfounding
• Maintaining a moral judgment in the absence
of reason
Based in Emotion
• We feel right and wrong
• Intuitive process
The Many Meanings of Moral…
Normative Definitions
• Moral = Good/Right, Immoral = Bad/Wrong
• Everyday understanding
• Present in much scholarly research
Our Definition
• Moral = Relating to judgments about right and wrong
Moral Foundations Theory (Haidt & Joseph, 2008)
Dual-process Theory
• Intuitive Processing
• Fast, based on emotion and
“gut” feelings
• Deliberative Processing
• Slow, based on careful
weighing of evidence
Moral Foundations Theory
(Haidt & Joseph, 2008)
Intuitive Processes
• Derived from evolutionary adaptations
• Five moral intuitions
• Care – Suffering of others
• Fairness – Reciprocity and justice
• Loyalty – Ingroup biases
• Authority – Respect for hierarchies
• Purity – Concerned with contamination
Moral Foundations Theory (Haidt & Joseph, 2008)
The Five Moral Intuitions
• Present in all cultures
• Culture can influence the relative and absolute importance of
each intuition
Moral Foundations Theory
Adapted from Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009
Moral Foundations Theory
Correlating Conservativism
USA
n = 80,322
Western
Europe
Middle
East
East
Asia
Average
3,766
575
479
N = 85,142
Harm
-.35
-.22
-.19
-.19
-.20
Fairness
-.44
-.38
-.32
-.24
-.32
Ingroup
.47
.44
.42
.28
.37
Authority
.56
.53
.56
.37
.48
Purity
.58
.52
.51
.42
.49
Adapted from Graham, Nosek, Haidt, Iyer, Koleva, & Ditto, 2011
Upholding and Violating Moral Intuitions
Authority
Media and Morality
Is Real-world Morality Relevant to Media?
Media Equation (Reeves & Nass, 1996) – Media = Real life
Media and Morality
Moral
Sensitivity
Perceptions
of Media
Content
Moral Sensitivity and Perceptions
Tamborini, Eden, Bowman, Grizzard, & Lachlan (2012)
• Graphic Violence Narrative
• Care sensitivity predicted graphicness (+) and appeal (-)
• Justice Narrative
• Fairness sensitivity predicted appeal (+) but not justice (0)
Tamborini et al. (2013)
• Perceptions of immoral characters
• Moral foundation sensitivity predicted character morality (-)
• Character morality predicted appeal (+)
Moral Sensitivity and Perceptions
Tamborini, Grizzard, Eden, & Lewis (2011)
• Heroes and Villains
• Real life vs. Media
• Pure heroes/villains vs. Mixed (Antiheroes)
Moral Intuition Upholding
Real-life vs. Media Heroes and Villains
6
5
4
Real Hero
Fictional Hero
Real Villain
Fictional Villain
3
2
1
0
Care
Fariness
Loyalty
Authority
Moral Intuition
Purity
Pure Hero/Villain vs. Mixed Characters
Upholding
3
Pure Hero
2
Care/Harm
Ray
Liotta
1
Liking
Fairness
Authority
0
-3
-2
-1
0
1
-1
-2
Pure
Villain
Joe
Pesci
-3
2
3
Ingroup
Purity
Robert
DeNiro
Media as Moral Sandbox
Distinguishing Media Forms
TV/Film
Distinguishing Media Forms
TV/Film
• Viewers are witnesses to narrative actions
• We fear/hope for characters
• We judge their actions
Distinguishing Media Forms
Video Games
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Moral Emotions (Tangney et al., 2007)
• Moral barometer
• Guilt, shame, pride
Can video games make us feel guilty?
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Can video games make us feel guilty?
• Hartmann, Toz, & Brandon (2010)
• Unjustified violence  Guilt
Does guilt motivate increased moral sensitivity?
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Grizzard et al., 2014
• Experimental Study
• 2 (Video Game vs. Memory Recall) x 2 (Guilt vs. Control)
Video Game
Guilt
Control
Memory Recall
Guilt
Control
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Guilt
+
+
Care
Fairness
Loyalty
Authority
Guilt
Purity
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Table 1. Zero Order Correlations Among the Study Variables
Guilt
Care
Fairness
Loyalty
Authority
Guilt
1
Care
.19*
Fairness
.10
Loyalty
-.02
Authority
.07
Purity
.05
n = 155
* p < .05, ** p < .01
1
.54**
.31**
.38**
.35**
1
.07
.40**
.30**
1
.48**
.50**
1
.67**
Purity
1
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Table 2. Correlation Matrix for Participants in Video Game Play Conditions
Condition
Guilt
Care
Fairness
Loyalty
Authority
Condition 1
Guilt
.25*
1
Care
.07
.28*
1
Fairness
.13
.35**
.73**
1
Loyalty
-.07
.00
.36**
.06
1
Authority
.11
.19
.53**
.48**
.46**
1
Purity
.17
.14
.49**
.40**
.52**
.59**
Note: Condition is dummy coded as 1 = Terrorist/Guilt condition, 0 = UN Soldier/Control
condition.
n = 68
* p < .05, ** p < .01
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Table 3. Correlation Matrix for Participants in Memory Recall Conditions
Condition
Guilt
Care
Fairness
Loyalty
Authority
Condition 1
Guilt
.49*
1
Care
.07
.06
1
Fairness
.02
-.11
.35**
1
Loyalty
.12
-.03
.24*
.07
1
Authority .08
.01
.25*
.32**
.50**
1
Purity
.02
-.02
.24*
.21*
.50**
.72**
Note: Condition is dummy coded as 1 = Recall of a guilt inducing experience, 0 = Recall of
an ordinary day.
n = 87
* p < .05, ** p < .01
Moral Transgressions in Video Games
Mediation Models
Condition
Guilt
Moral
Intuition
• Guilt mediated effect of condition on moral intuition
• Only for video game
• Only for content-relevant moral intuitions
Moral Decision-Making in Video Games
Moral sensitivity affects player decisions
•
Joeckel, Bowman, & Dogruel, 2010
Virtual actions can elicit moral emotions
•
Hartmann et al., 2010; Weaver & Lewis, 2012; Grizzard et al., 2014
Guilt elicited by virtual actions increases moral sensitivity
•
Grizzard et al., 2014
Players “desensitize” to guilt responses
•
Grizzard et al., in preparation
Players’ in-game actions reflect real-world morality
•
Joeckel, Bowman, & Dogruel, 2012; Weaver & Lewis, 2012
Current and Future Directions
Current and Future Directions
Integrating what we know…
• Media form determines moral judgment processes
• Intuitive vs. deliberative processing relates to media content
• Bad media, good morals?
Media Form and Moral Judgment Processes
Moral Emotions
Source of Action
Self
Other
Moral Upholding
Moral Pride
Compassion
Gratitude
Awe/Elevation
Moral Violating
Guilt
Shame/Embarrassment
Contempt
Anger
Disgust
Media Form and Moral Judgment Processes
Film/TV/Text
Video Games
Other-elicited moral emotions
• Judging character actions
Self- & other-elicited moral emotions
• Other – Non-player characters
• Self – Player-character actions
Motivate behavior change through
observational learning
Motivate behavior change through
observational learning, but also through selfreflection/classical conditioning
Intuitive vs. Deliberative Processing
Moral dilemmas/conflict promote deliberative processing
(Tamborini, 2012)
• Moral intuitions in conflict (e.g., Care vs. Authority)
Moral emotions promote deliberative processing
• Conflicting emotional responses (e.g., hedonism vs. altruism)
Absence of moral emotions facilitates deliberative reasoning
• Emotion can cloud rational processing
• Removing emotional stimulation might encourage deliberative
judgments
Bad Media, Good Morals?
Bad Media, Good Morals?
Bad Media, Good Morals?
National Television Violence Study (1998)
Increased Risk Factors
• Attractive perpetrator
• Justified violence
• Humor
Decreased Risk Factors
• Punishments
• Unjustified violence
• Pain/harm cues
Bad Media, Good Morals?
Moral Self-licensing
• Past morally positive
behaviors reduce
likelihood of future
behaviors
• Thinking of oneself as
moral can be a negative
(Sachdeva et al., 2009; Merritt et al.,
2010; Kouchaki, 2011)
Bad Media, Good Morals?
Conclusion
Real-world morality effects media reception (and vice versa)
Media can serve as a safe arena to practice moral judgment
Let’s not write off “bad” media
References
Center for Communication and Social Policy. National Television Violence Study, Vol. 3. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998.
Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 96(5), 1029-1046. doi:10.1037/a0015141
Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., & Ditto, P. H. (2011). Mapping the moral domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
101(2), 366-385. doi: 10.1037/a0021847
Grizzard, M., Tamborini, R., Lewis, R. J., Wang, L., & Prabhu, S. (2014). Being bad in a video game can make us morally sensitive. Cyberpsychology,
Behavior, & Social Networking, 17(8), 499-504. doi:10.1089/cyber.2013.0658
Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2008). The moral mind: How five sets of innate intuitions guide the development of many culture-specific virtues, and perhaps
even modules. The innate mind, 3, 367-391.
Haidt, J., Koller, S. H., & Dias, M. G. (1993). Affect, culture, and morality, or is it wrong to eat your dog?. Journal of personality and social psychology, 65(4),
613-628.
Hartmann, T., Toz, E., & Brandon, M. (2010). Just a game? Unjustified virtual violence produces guilt in empathetic players. Media Psychology, 13(4),
339-363. doi:10.1080/15213269.2010.524912
Kouchaki, M. (2011). Vicarious moral licensing: the influence of others' past moral actions on moral behavior. Journal of personality and social psychology,
101(4), 702-715.
Joeckel, S., Bowman, N. D., & Dogruel, L. (2012). Gut or game? The influence of moral intuitions on decisions in video games. Media Psychology, 15(4),
460-485. doi:10.1080/15213269.2012.727218
Merritt, A. C., Effron, D. A., & Monin, B. (2010). Moral self‐licensing: When being good frees us to be bad. Social and Personality Psychology Compass,
4(5), 344-357.
Sachdeva, S., Iliev, R., & Medin, D. L. (2009). Sinning saints and saintly sinners the paradox of moral self-regulation. Psychological science, 20(4), 523-528.
Tamborini, R. (2012). A model of intuitive morality and exemplars. In R. Tamborini (Ed.), Media and the moral mind (pp. 43–74). London, England:
Routledge.
Tamborini, R., Eden, A., Bowman, N. D., Grizzard, M., & Lachlan, K. (2012). The influence of morality subcultures on the acceptance and appeal of
violence. Journal of Communication, 62, 136-157. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2011.01620.x
Tamborini, R., Eden, A., Bowman, N., Grizzard, M., Weber, R., & Lewis, R. J. (2013). Predicting media appeal from instinctive moral values. Mass
Communication & Society, 16(3), 325-346. doi:10.1080/15205436.2012.703285
Tamborini, R., Grizzard, M., Eden, A., Lewis, R. J. (November, 2011). Imperfect Heroes and Villains: Patterns of Upholding and Violating Distinct Moral
Domains and Character Appeal. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Communication Association, New Orleans, LA. Top paper in
Mass Communication division.
Tangney, J. P., Stuewig, J., & Mashek, D. J. (2007). Moral emotions and moral behavior. Annual review of psychology, 58, 345-372.
doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.56.091103.070145
Weaver, A. J., & Lewis, N. (2012). Mirrored morality: An exploration of moral choice in video games. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking,
15(11), 610-614. doi:10.1089/cyber.2012.0235