The Interactive Effects Of Mortality Salience And Political Orientation On Moral Judgments

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In two studies, the authors examined how threat induced by reminders of mortality would moderate the effect of political orientation on moral judgments. In Study 1, university students (n=113) categorized their political orientation, were randomly assigned to complete a fear of death or public speaking scale, and then completed a moral foundations questionnaire. In Study 2, university students (n=123) rated their political orientations, were randomly assigned to write about their own death or dental pain, and then completed a moral foundations questionnaire. In both studies, mortality salience intensified the moral differences between liberals and conservatives. These findings were primarily the result of the reactions of liberals, who responded to mortality salience with increased ratings of the fairness/cheating virtue in Study 1 and the care/harm virtue in Study 2.