J. van der Toorn
- The threat of moral transgression: The impact of group membership and moral opportunity
- European Journal of Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 45 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
When other ingroup members behave immorally, people's motivation to maintain a moral group image may cause them to experience increased threat and act defensively in response. In the current research, we investigated people's reactions to others' misconduct and examined the effect of group membership and the possible threat-reducing function of moral opportunity—the prospect of being able to re-establish the group's moral image. In Study 1, students who were confronted with fellow students' plagiarism and who received an opportunity to improve their group's morality reported feeling less threatened than students who did not receive such opportunity. In Study 2, students reacted to a recent academic fraud case, which either implicated an ingroup (scholar in their own discipline) or an outgroup member (scholar in another discipline). Results indicated that participants experienced more threat when an ingroup (versus an outgroup) member had committed the moral transgression. However, as hypothesized, this was not the case when moral opportunity was provided. Hence, the threat-reducing effect of moral opportunity was replicated. Additionally, participants generally were more defensive in response to ingroup (versus outgroup) moral failure and less defensive when moral opportunity was present (versus absent). Together, these findings suggest that the reduction of threat due to moral opportunity may generally help individuals take constructive action when the behavior of fellow group members discredits the group's moral image.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.