Scholarly Contribution to Database/Website

Changing morals: We’re more compassionate than 100 years ago, but more judgmental too

Melissa Wheeler, Nick Haslam, Melanie McGrath

Published : 2019


Values such as care, compassion and safety are more important to us now than they were in the 1980s. The importance of respecting authority has fallen since the beginning of the 20th century, while judging right and wrong based on loyalty to country and family has steadily risen. Our analysis, using the Google Books database and published in Plos One, showed distinctive trends in our moral priorities between 1900 to 2007. How we should understand these changes in moral sensibility is a fascinating problem. Morality is not rigid or monolithic. Moral Foundations Theory, for instance, puts forward five moral grammars, each with its own set of associated virtues and vices.