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Studies suggest that people hurt others to signal their goodness

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People often hurt others, according to a survey of the new Graduate School of Business at the University of California, San Diego. Because, in their minds, violence is morally correct or even obligatory and, as a result, does not reasonably react to material interests.

This study is affecting the criminal justice system and suggests that fines and imprisonment for penalizing bad behavior may not be an effective deterrent, as legislators desire.

“For the vast majority of criminals, it’s not worth the effort to do pure harm from a place of cynical desires,” said psychologist Tage Lai, assistant professor at Lady School of Business, and the author of the study. rice field. “For example, as we saw at the January 6 hearing, many of the perpetrators of the attack on the Capitol believe that the elections were stolen from them, and they punish lawmakers who mistreated them. I believed that I had the right morally. Of these people, their actions would be substantially punished. What is unclear is whether it prevents them from doing it again. How is it? “

Rye’s findings published in the journal psychologyIs based on multiple experiments with approximately 1,500 study participants. Subjects in the experimental group were paid a monetary bonus to punish others. But when they were punished, it actually made them less likely to do so.

“Financial interests can be inconsistent with their perceived moral justification,” Lai said. “When people punish others to show their goodness and receive rewards, they may appear to be driven by greed rather than justice. If they have money, others for profit. There is no longer any moral anxiety about hurting. “

Lai added that lawmakers should also take advantage of social pressure to prevent criminal activity.

“When people find themselves negatively judged by their peers, they may be more likely to question their claims of moral righteousness,” he said.

Much of Rye’s research seeks to understand violent behavior and how to prevent it.A book he co-authored with his previous research Favorable violence Most violent criminals reveal that they have their own ideas about what is right and what is wrong in a given situation.

Knowing that violent criminals often cite their own moral norms as a reason to hurt people, Rye further tests this theory by paying people to punish others in laboratory experiments. I wanted to.

In four different experiments in online economic games, he found that by offering a monetary bonus to punish a third party, he reduced participants’ motivation by almost half.

“The survey results show that people more If we anticipate criticism from our peers, we hesitate to do harm when they are in a position to benefit from it. “

In conclusion, he says he understands what he draws Man The key to preventing violence is violence.

“If the government is trying to discourage criminals, they should also aim to change the moral story that criminals use to justify their actions,” Lai said. Said.


Are we born with a moral compass?


For more information:
Tage S. Rai, material interests swarm moral punishment, psychology (2022). DOI: 10.1177 / 09567976211054786

Quote: According to research, people hurt others and show their goodness (June 21, 2022).

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Studies suggest that people hurt others to signal their goodness

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