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Question Session 05

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What Is Moral Conviction: Louis’ Question

I formulated this week’s essay question in terms of moral conviction because that’s how my key source, Feinberg & Willer (2013), phrase it. But what is moral conviction?1

An influential source says:

‘Moral conviction refers to a strong and absolute belief that something is right or wrong, moral or immoral’ (Skitka, Bauman, & Sargis, 2005, p. 896).

These authors have an extensive discussion in the introduction of their paper. However, consider how they operationalise moral conviction:

‘Moral conviction was assessed with a single-item measure, specifically, “How much are your feelings about __ connected to your core moral beliefs or convictions ?” (Skitka et al., 2005, p. 899).

They are inviting their participants to bring their own understanding of moral conviction.

Reading: Sziszi’s Find

There’s a special issue of the journal Social Cognition that looks relevant and has some great authors (haven’t read it myself yet):


moral conviction : ‘Moral conviction refers to a strong and absolute belief that something is right or wrong, moral or immoral’ (Skitka et al., 2005, p. 896).


Feinberg, M., & Willer, R. (2013). The Moral Roots of Environmental Attitudes. Psychological Science, 24(1), 56–62.
Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., Motyl, M., Iyer, R., Wojcik, S. P., & Ditto, P. H. (2013). Moral Foundations Theory: The Pragmatic Validity of Moral Pluralism. In P. Devine & A. Plant (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 47, pp. 55–130). Academic Press.
Reisenzein, R. (2000). The subjective experience of surprise. In H. Bless & J. P. Forgas (Eds.), The message within: The role of subjective experience in social cognition and behavior (pp. 262–279). Hove: Psychology Press.
Skitka, L. J., Bauman, C., & Sargis, E. (2005). Moral Conviction: Another Contributor to Attitude Strength or Something More? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(6), 895–917.
Thompson, V. A., Turner, J. A. P., Pennycook, G., Ball, L. J., Brack, H., Ophir, Y., & Ackerman, R. (2013). The role of answer fluency and perceptual fluency as metacognitive cues for initiating analytic thinking. Cognition, 128(2), 237–251.
van Leeuwen, F., & Park, J. H. (2009). Perceptions of social dangers, moral foundations, and political orientation. Personality and Individual Differences, 47(3), 169–173.
Wolsko, C., Ariceaga, H., & Seiden, J. (2016). Red, white, and blue enough to be green: Effects of moral framing on climate change attitudes and conservation behaviors. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 65, 7–19.
  1. I added the glossary entry after Louis’ question.