Journal article

Why Moral Advocacy Leads to Polarization and Proselytization: The Role of Self-Persuasion

Ravini S Abeywickrama, Joshua J Rhee, Damien L Crone, Simon M Laham

Journal of Social and Political Psychology | PSYCHOPEN | Published : 2020


This research is the first to examine the effects of moral versus practical pro-attitudinal advocacy in the context of self-persuasion. We validate a novel advocacy paradigm aimed at uncovering why moral advocacy leads to polarization and proselytization. We investigate four distinct possibilities: (1) expression of moral foundational values (harm, fairness, loyalty, authority, purity), (2) reliance on moral systems (deontology and consequentialism), (3) expression of moral outrage, (4) increased confidence in one’s advocacy attempt. In Study 1 (N = 255) we find differences between moral and practical advocacy on the five moral foundations, deontology, and moral outrage. In Study 2 (N = 218)..

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Funding Acknowledgements

The authors have no funding to report for research design, execution, analysis, interpretation and reporting. An Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship was bestowed to the corresponding author for the completion of their doctoral dissertation.