The Effects Of Perspective Taking And Empathy On Moral Judgments Of Blame And Praise

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
April D. Young (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Andrew Monroe

Abstract: Moral judgments arise from a consideration of mental state inferences and an assessment of the outcomes of a moral event. Perspective taking and empathizing with people involved in a moral situation were predicted to differentially influence moral judgments. Perspective taking was predicted to guide observers to focus on the mental states of an agent, whereas empathy was predicted to guide observers to be sensitive to the outcomes of an event and who is harmed or benefitted by the actions of a moral agent. In turn, perspective taking would intensify moral judgments of blame and praise for outcomes that were produced intentionally, and empathizing would intensify moral judgments for accidental actions. Two studies manipulated information about an agent’s mental state and event outcomes by having participants read vignettes that described accidental or attempted events. Participants were instructed to either take the perspective of or empathize with the people in the story and make judgments of blame and praise. Study 1 examined judgments of blame and Study 2 attempted to replicate and extend Study 1 by including praiseworthy vignettes. Empathizing was found to produce greater judgments of blame for accidental actions. Judgments of attempted acts did not robustly differ across instruction conditions.

Additional Information

Young, A. (2018). "The Effects Of Perspective Taking And Empathy On Moral Judgments Of Blame And Praise." Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2018
Moral judgment, mental state inference, perspective taking, empathy

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