Moral Foundations Test
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- Your friend's scores:
Your friend has no one strongest moral foundation.
Your friend's morality is closest to that of a Conservative.
Explanation of Moral Foundations:
Care: This foundation pertains to our mammalian need to care for our young and to form bonds of attachment to others. It underlies the virtues of kindness and nurturance and is tied to emotions such as protectiveness and compassion. Left-liberals typically score the highest on this dimension, conservatives the second-highest, and libertarians the lowest.
Fairness: This foundation pertains to our ability to maintain cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships. It underlies the virtues of honesty, justice, and dependability. It is tied to emotions such as gratitude, anger, and guilt. Left-liberals typically score higher on this dimension than conservatives and libertarians.
Loyalty: This foundation is derived from our species' long history of living as tribes and clans, enabling us to form cohesive communities. It underlies the virtues of patriotism, bravery, and self-sacrifice on behalf of the group. It is tied to emotions such as pride and a sense of belonging. Conservatives typically score higher on this dimension than left-liberals and libertarians.
Purity: This foundation pertains to our species' need to avoid disease and parasites. It underlies the phenomenon of cultural taboos and fuels the commitment to live in a manner that abstains from indulgence in sensory desires. It is tied to emotions such as sanctity, piety, and disgust. Conservatives typically score higher on this dimension than left-liberals and libertarians.
Liberty: This foundation is related to the individual's need to be his own master and to avoid the dominant social mores imposed by the group. It underlies the virtues of independence and autonomy. It is tied to emotions such as self-sufficiency and defiance. Libertarians typically score the highest on this dimension, conservatives the second-highest, and left-liberals the lowest.
Explanation of Political Groups:
Left-Liberalism: Individuals in this group seek to uphold individual liberty while taxing the market to provide social benefits for those in need. They tend to see themselves as seeking balance between individual liberty and social justice and to be in favor of multiculturalism, secular government, and international cooperation. While they are typically skeptical of state involvement in social affairs, they nevertheless see a legitimate role for the state in combating discrimination and ensuring equal treatment. Left-Liberals typically have a Care- and Fairness-based morality.
Conservatism: Individuals in this group seek to retain the traditional social and economic order and to uphold the sovereignty of the state. They tend to see themselves as the defenders of what their forebears would have wanted, favoring strict immigration laws, traditional values, and a strong military. While they typically see a role for the state in matters of national security and culture, they tend to be more skeptical of state involvement in the economy. Conservatives typically have a balanced morality where all six foundations are represented in (roughly) equal proportions.
Libertarianism: Individuals in this group seek to uphold liberty as the primary political good in all respects. They tend to see themselves as staunch supporters of both personal and economic freedom and are deeply skeptical of collective plans and goals, stressing instead the principle of voluntary association and the individual's capacity to make his own judgments. They typically see less of a role for the state than individuals in the other two groups, believing instead in the spontaneous social order of the market. Libertarians typically have a Liberty-based morality.
Theory and Approach:
Data and Findings
Data on the different political groups was extrapolated from Iyer et al. 2012.
Though the adherents of Moral Foundations Theory claim that its findings are universal, there is still a comparative scarcity of non-American data. However, though European, East Asian, and Oceanian researchers have found points of contention, their main conclusions have nevertheless corroborated the overall patterns of Moral Foundations Theory. In the main, their studies confirmed that, in spite of local cultural variations, a Care- and Fairness-based morality reliably predicts a left-leaning political orientation, while high scores on the Loyalty, Authority, and Purity scales are associated wth a rightward tilt (Nilsson et al. 2015). In other words, while the patterns of ideological differences in moral concerns are the same across the world, the exact magnitude of the differences is more likely to depend upon the histories, traditions, and cultures of each particular country.
A peculiarity in the reported data is that all three political groups tend to score high on the Liberty scale, even though observers might expect conservatives to score higher on the Authority, Loyalty, and/or Purity scales than they would on that of Liberty. On the one hand, this may suggest that the Liberty-based questions employed by researchers are externally imbalanced (although the overall picture does seem to suggest that the scale has internal validity). On the other hand, a competing explanation for the anomaly in the data may be the aforementioned reliance on American subjects, where political theorists have previously suggested that all American segments may be uniquely influenced by the particular American tradition of extolling liberty above all else (Gross et al. 2011): I.e. that "what Americans call conservatism, the rest of the world would call a variant of liberalism."
- Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., Ditto, P.: Mapping the Moral Domain Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101(2), 2011
- Graham, J., Haidt, J., Nosek, Brian A.: Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Different Sets of Moral Foundations Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 96, 2009
- Iyer R., Koleva S., Graham J., Ditto P., Haidt J.: Understanding Libertarian Morality PLoS ONE 7(8), 2012
- Kim, K.R., Kang, J., Yun, S.: Moral Intuitions and Political Orientation Psychological Reports 111(1), 2012
- Nilsson, A., Erlandsson, A.: The Moral Foundations Taxonomy Personality and Individual Differences 76, 2015
- Clifford , S., Iyengar, V., Cabeza, R., Sinnott-Armstrong, W.: Moral Foundations Vignettes Behavior Research Methods, 2015
- Gross, N., Medvetz, T. Russell, R.: The Contemporary American Conservative Movement Annual Review of Sociology 37, 2011