Moral grandstanding in public discourse: Status-seeking motives as a potential explanatory mechanism in predicting conflict

Autoři: Joshua B. Grubbs aff001;  Brandon Warmke aff002;  Justin Tosi aff003;  A. Shanti James aff001;  W. Keith Campbell aff004
Působiště autorů: Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, United States of America aff001;  Department of Philosophy, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, United States of America aff002;  Department of Philosophy, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, United States of America aff003;  Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, United States of America aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(10)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223749


Public discourse is often caustic and conflict-filled. This trend seems to be particularly evident when the content of such discourse is around moral issues (broadly defined) and when the discourse occurs on social media. Several explanatory mechanisms for such conflict have been explored in recent psychological and social-science literatures. The present work sought to examine a potentially novel explanatory mechanism defined in philosophical literature: Moral Grandstanding. According to philosophical accounts, Moral Grandstanding is the use of moral talk to seek social status. For the present work, we conducted six studies, using two undergraduate samples (Study 1, N = 361; Study 2, N = 356); a sample matched to U.S. norms for age, gender, race, income, Census region (Study 3, N = 1,063); a YouGov sample matched to U.S. demographic norms (Study 4, N = 2,000); and a brief, one-month longitudinal study of Mechanical Turk workers in the U.S. (Study 5, Baseline N = 499, follow-up n = 296), and a large, one-week YouGov sample matched to U.S. demographic norms (Baseline N = 2,519, follow-up n = 1,776). Across studies, we found initial support for the validity of Moral Grandstanding as a construct. Specifically, moral grandstanding motivation was associated with status-seeking personality traits, as well as greater political and moral conflict in daily life.

Klíčová slova:

Behavior – Motivation – Personality – Personality disorders – Personality traits – Social media – Vigilance – Moral philosophy


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2019 Číslo 10