Moral in whose eyes? Cross‐cultural differences in moral decision making and behaviour

Minjae Seo, Jinkyung Na, Young‐Hoon Kim
Published Online:
06 May 2020
Volume/Issue No:
Volume 56 Issue 1

Additional Options

All people want to feel that they are morally adequate. People tend to evaluate their moral adequacy by judging their behaviour through their own eyes (first‐person perspective) or the eyes of others (third‐person perspective). People in all cultures use both perspectives, but there may be cultural variations in which perspective takes precedence. By conducting two studies, we explore the way people in face cultures are more likely to secure their moral self‐regard through the eyes of others (vs. their own eyes), whereas the opposite is true in case of people from dignity cultures. Study 1 found that people from face culture (Korean participants) cheated to a lesser extent when others were invoked (vs. not invoked), but people from dignity culture (American participants) were not affected by this priming. Study 2 found that moral intentions were more strongly influenced by what participants perceived others to do in moral situations in face (vs. dignity) cultures. In contrast, moral intentions were found to be more strongly influenced by what they believed they should do in moral situations in dignity (vs. face) cultures.

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