TITLE

The moral foundations of illusory correlation

AUTHOR(S)
Rodríguez-Ferreiro, Javier; Barberia, Itxaso
PUB. DATE
October 2017
SOURCE
PLoS ONE;10/03/2017, Vol. 12 Issue 10, p1
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Previous research has studied the relationship between political ideology and cognitive biases, such as the tendency of conservatives to form stronger illusory correlations between negative infrequent behaviors and minority groups. We further explored these findings by studying the relation between illusory correlation and moral values. According to the moral foundations theory, liberals and conservatives differ in the relevance they concede to different moral dimensions: Care, Fairness, Loyalty, Authority, and Purity. Whereas liberals consistently endorse the Care and Fairness foundations more than the Loyalty, Authority and Purity foundations, conservatives tend to adhere to the five foundations alike. In the present study, a group of participants took part in a standard illusory correlation task in which they were presented with randomly ordered descriptions of either desirable or undesirable behaviors attributed to individuals belonging to numerically different majority and minority groups. Although the proportion of desirable and undesirable behaviors was the same in the two groups, participants attributed a higher frequency of undesirable behaviors to the minority group, thus showing the expected illusory correlation effect. Moreover, this effect was specifically associated to our participants’ scores in the Loyalty subscale of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. These results emphasize the role of the Loyalty moral foundation in the formation of attitudes towards minorities among conservatives. Our study points out the moral system as a useful fine-grained framework to explore the complex interaction between basic cognitive processes and ideology.
ACCESSION #
125495731

 

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