Saturday, December 1, 2018

When Those We Love Misbehave: For the most part, we evaluate them & their unethical actions less harshly, but exhibit greater negative effects on our own morality & perceived relationships when close others act unethically, compared to strangers

When the Ones We Love Misbehave: Exploring Moral Processes in Intimate Bonds. Rachel Chubak Forbes. Master of Arts Thesis, Psychology. University of Toronto. 2018.

Abstract: How do we respond when those we are closest to behave unethically? Previous research has almost exclusively investigated individuals' reactions to transgressions committed by strangers. Here we examined how observers evaluated close others and their misbehavior, how close others’ misbehaviour affected observers’own morality, and how relationship relevant outcomes were impacted when a close other, compared to a stranger, acted immorally. Participants read hypothetical transgressions (Study 1), recalled actual transgressions (Study 2), and witnessed transgressions occur in the laboratory committed by eomantic partners, friends, and strangers (Study 3). Effects were consistent across Studies 1 and 2, but less so for Study 3. For the most part, participants evaluated transgressors and their unethical actions less harshly, but exhibited greater negative effects on their own morality and perceived relationships when close others acted unethically, compared to strangers. This work suggests that sharing intimate bonds with transgressors impact moral evaluation.

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