Construal Levels and Moral Judgment: Some Complications

Eyal, T., Liberman, N., & Trope, Y., (2008). Judging near and distant virtue and vice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1204–1209, explored how psychological distance influences moral judgment and found that more extreme moral appraisals were given to distal behaviors rather than proximal behaviors. Contrary to Eyal et al., the current paper presents converging evidence showing that moral judgments become more extreme at lower-level construals compared to higher-level construals. In four experiments using two different priming techniques, we manipulated construal levels and assessed their effects on moral judgment. High-level consturals elicited less moral outrage toward transgressions and less positive ratings of virtuous behaviors than low-level construals. A replication study was also conducted to reconcile the inconsistencies between the current results and those of Eyal et al. Possible explanations for the different results between two studies are discussed. 

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APA-Format Citation

Gong, H., & Medin, D. L. (2012). Construal levels and moral judgment: Some complications. Judgment and Decision Making, 7(5), 628.