Moral dichotomization at the heart of prejudice: the role of moral foundations and intolerance of ambiguity in generalized prejudice

Erik Forsberg, Artur Nilsson, Øyvind Jørgensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study confronted the classical idea that generalized prejudice is rooted in a cognitive tendency to sort reality into rigid and simple categories with the more recent idea that prejudice is shaped by moral intuitions. In a diverse Swedish sample (N = 430), moral absolutism was more strongly associated with generalized prejudice against derogated and dissident (but not dangerous) groups than were other aspects of intolerance of ambiguity. But there was little direct association between any aspect of intolerance of ambiguity and generalized prejudice once indirect relations through binding moral intuitions (which elevated prejudice) and individualizing moral intuitions (which decreased prejudice) had been taken into account. These findings suggest that intolerance of ambiguity is associated with generalized prejudice mainly insofar as it leads to a distinctly moral dichotomization of persons into categories such as insiders and outsiders, law-abiding citizens and deviants, and the righteous and the impure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1010
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Psychology (501)

Keywords

  • cognitive style
  • generalized prejudice
  • intolerance of ambiguity
  • moral foundations
  • moral intuitions

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