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

Bastian, Brock, Bain, Paul, Buhrmester, Michael D., Gómez, Ángel, Vázquez, Alexandra, Knight, Clinton G., & Swann, William B. Jr. (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, 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.

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ID Code: 83118
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1177/0146167215589819
ISSN: 0146-1672
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES (220000) > PHILOSOPHY (220300) > Ethical Theory (220305)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 08 Apr 2015 22:47
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2015 01:10

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