Department of Psychology pres.
Social Brown Bag: Julia Smith: Visible and invisible privileges: An interpersonal positive/negative asymmetry; Laura Soter: Knowing What You Shouldn't Do: Differences in Normative and Predictive Moral Judgments
Julia Smith and Laura Soter, Social Psychology Graduate Students
People tend to notice the barriers that make life harder for them and overlook the blessings that make life easier. When they do notice the blessings, however, they disproportionately notice other people who have helped them reach their goals rather than positive personal characteristics or structural benefits. The opposite pattern emerges for barriers: people report structural barriers but rarely mention harmful interpersonal relationships. In this talk, I will outline this phenomenon and discuss the possibility that it is due to a social norm that obliges people to pay close attention to the help they receive from others, but not the advantages they receive from non-interpersonal life circumstances.
Normative moral judgments - judgments about what's right and wrong, or judgments about what we should or shouldn't do - are meant to be action-guiding. Yet, recent work has found that people's normative judgments about what they should do don't always align with what they actually do. There are a number of possible explanations for why people might fail in the moment to act as they think they should, including failures of affective forecasting or weakness of will. Across four studies, we test an alternative hypothesis: that people may be reflectively aware that they won't always act in accordance with their moral judgments. Our findings show that in relational "loyalty dilemmas," there are consistent patterns of differences when people are asked what they would do, as opposed to what they should do.
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