The Interactive Effect of Anger and Disgust on Moral Outrage and Judgments

Jessica Salerno, Liana C. Peter-Hagene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Scopus citations

Abstract

The two studies reported here demonstrated that a combination of anger and disgust predicts moral outrage. In Study 1, anger toward moral transgressions (sexual assault, funeral picketing) predicted moral outrage only when it co-occurred with at least moderate disgust, and disgust predicted moral outrage only when it co-occurred with at least moderate anger. In Study 2, a mock-jury paradigm that included emotionally disturbing photographs of a murder victim revealed that, compared to anger, disgust was a more consistent predictor of moral outrage (i.e., it predicted moral outrage at all levels of anger). Furthermore, moral outrage mediated the effect of participants' anger on their confidence in a guilty verdict-but only when anger co-occurred with at least a moderate level of disgust-whereas moral outrage mediated the effect of participants' disgust on their verdict confidence at all levels of anger. The interactive effect of anger and disgust has important implications for theoretical explanations of moral outrage, moral judgments in general, and legal decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2069-2078
Number of pages10
JournalPsychological Science
Volume24
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2013

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Keywords

  • emotions
  • judgment
  • legal processes
  • morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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