Moral vitalism: seeing good and evil as real, agentic forces

Bastian, Brock, Bain, Paul, Buhrmester, Michael D., Gómez, Ángel, Vázquez, Alexandra, Knight, Clinton G., and Swann, William B. (2015) Moral vitalism: seeing good and evil as real, agentic forces. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41 (8). pp. 1069-1081.

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Moral vitalism refers to a tendency to view good and evil as actual forces that can influence people and events. We introduce a scale designed to assess the belief in moral vitalism. High scorers on the scale endorse items such as “There are underlying forces of good and evil in this world.” After establishing the reliability and criterion validity of the scale (Studies 1, 2a, and 2b), we examined the predictive validity of the moral vitalism scale, showing that “moral vitalists” worry about being possessed by evil (Study 3), being contaminated through contact with evil people (Study 4), and forfeiting their own mental purity (Study 5). We discuss the nature of moral vitalism and the implications of the construct for understanding the role of metaphysical lay theories about the nature of good and evil in moral reasoning.

Item ID: 73011
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1552-7433
Keywords: contagion, essentialism, evil, morality, spirit possession, vitalism
Copyright Information: © 2015 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2022 00:56
FoR Codes: 52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520503 Personality and individual differences @ 50%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5205 Social and personality psychology > 520505 Social psychology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology @ 100%
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