Are we at all liberal at heart? High-powered tests find no effect of intuitive thinking on moral foundations
Two opposing views define the debate on the moral principles underlying human behavior. One side argues a central role for five moral foundations (care, fairness, loyalty, authority, sanctity), while the other argues that two of these (care, fairness) capture the essence of human moral concerns. In an experiment comparing these two views, Wright and Baril (2011) found that conservatives under cognitive load devalue loyalty, authority and sanctity, and become more liberal. Their finding of common intuitive concern with care and fairness supports the two-foundation perspective. In two high-powered preregistered experiments (N = 3275), we used time-pressure to induce intuitive thinking and tested Wright and Baril's finding that “we are all liberals at heart.” Although the manipulations worked as intended, Study 1 failed to identify an effect on the moral foundations questionnaire (MFQ). We conjectured that familiarity with standard survey items may weaken intuition manipulations by eliciting stable opinions. In Study 2, we therefore used not only the MFQ but also novel moral foundations vignettes. Study 2 failed to find an effect of time-pressure on either questionnaire type. An internal Bayesian meta-analysis indicated strong evidence against an effect of intuitive thinking on moral foundations.
SourceJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Moral foundations questionnaire
Moral foundations vignettes