Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere


What are the five categories of moral instincts?

Cross-cultural research has shown consistent themes to moral judgments, even across very different cultures. Jonathan Haidt suggested five general categories of moral concerns. These are harm/care, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, purity/sanctity, and fairness/reciprocity. Across cultures, people express disapproval and distress at the thought of harm coming to an innocent person. Betrayal of one’s community is likewise judged negatively. A respect for authority and the value of fair treatment for members of the community also appear to be cultural universals. The purity/sanctity category relates to the emotion of disgust and involves moral judgments about dietary laws, sexual practices, urination, defecation, and other similar issues.


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