Saturday, April 21, 2012

How Moral Are You? Quiz Gives Answers

Take A Morality Quiz - Liberal And Conservative Views Differ

LABELLE, FL. -- A new book, "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion" says people's morality values vary across cultures and political parties and suggests there are six "moral foundations" to which all people adhere to a lessor or greater extent.

By taking a Morality Quiz questionnaire developed by social psychologists, one can see how his or her sense of morality compares to other groups.

The theory and book, by University of Virginia Associate Professor of Psychology Jonathan Heidt says political liberals subscribe to a great sense of fairness and caring along with political conservatives, but conservatives also care much more about loyalty to the group, and deference to authority and respect for traditions.

Heidt has found six "moral foundations" believed to be innate and universal across all people that guide individual and group behaviors and opinions.

Heidt and other social and cultural psychologists, trying to understand why morality varies so much across cultures, created what they call a Moral Foundations Theory from their studies. What they found, helps explain why moral values vary so tremendously in people around the world, and between political parties, yet exhibit so many similarities.

Heidt says people adopts a particular set of moral values and then "Each culture then constructs virtues, narratives, and institutions on top of these foundations, thereby creating the unique moralities we see around the world, and conflicting within nations too."

Heidt says, "The current American culture war, we have found, can be seen as arising from the fact that liberals try to create a morality relying primarily on the Care/harm foundation, with additional support from the Fairness/cheating and Liberty/oppression foundations. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, use all six foundations, including Loyatly/betrayal, Authority/subversion, and Sanctity/degradation."

You can find out your own "moral foundations" profiles, and compare them to liberal and conservative views by taking a Morality Quiz short questionnaire for Southwest Florida Online readers at (After filling out the brief questions to register, scroll down the questionnaire page to do the "Moral Foundations" questionnaire first. )

Heidt lists the six moral foundations as:

1) Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Liberty/oppression: This foundation is about the feelings of reactance and resentment people feel toward those who dominate them and restrict their liberty. Its intuitions are often in tension with those of the authority foundation. The hatred of bullies and dominators motivates people to come together, in solidarity, to oppose or take down the oppressor.
4) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it's "one for all, and all for one."
5) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
6) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).

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