Portrait of Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla

Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla

Professor of Social Psychology
Talks Co-ordinator - Visiting Speakers and Café Psychology


Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla completed his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and was awarded his PhD in Social Psychology from New York University in 1996. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia and two year-long contracts, he joined the University of Kent in 2001. He was promoted to Professor in 2013, and has also been Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology since 2016. 

Roger is an advocate of transparency in scientific reporting and has written several articles and editorials in support of improved reporting guidelines and pre-registration. He has taught Master's statistics and methodology since 2001 at Kent. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a member of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology.

Research interests

After an early career focused on attitudes components and information processing, Professor Roger Giner-Sorolla's core research interests are currently in moral emotions, specifically the self-condemning emotions of guilt and shame, and the other-condemning ones of anger, contempt and disgust. He studies the related topics of intergroup apologies, dehumanisation, and emotionally driven prejudice. As a side interest, he is pursuing research on the ironic enjoyment of music and other aesthetic experiences.

Key publications

  • Russell, P.S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Bodily-moral disgust: What it is, how it is different from anger and why it is an unreasoned emotion. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 328-351.
  • Zaiser, E., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Saying sorry: Shifting obligation after conciliatory acts satisfies perpetrator group members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 585-604.
  • Russell, P.S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2011). Moral anger, but not moral disgust, responds to intentionality. Emotion, 11, 233-240.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R., & Espinosa, P. (2011). Social cueing of guilt by anger and shame by disgust. Psychological Science, 22, 49-53.

Grants and Awards

2013-14R. Giner-Sorolla
Evaluation of Emotion Regulation of Others and Self (EROS)
October 2009R Giner-Sorolla, M Van Vugt and S Derbyshire
Guilt and self-control in indivual and social dilemmas
June 2009R Giner-Sorolla and M Weick
UK Social Cognition Network
May 2009R Giner-Sorolla and M Van Vugt 
The Social Guilt Hypothesis
June 2006R Giner-Sorolla
University of Kent 
Promising Scholars Award
June 2005R Giner-Sorolla
Wellcome Trust 
Vacation Research Scholarship
2005-2006R Giner-Sorolla
The recipient’s view of compunction between groups
2005-2007R Giner-Sorolla
British Academy Small Grant 
Are affectively based attitudes stronger, faster, and more automatic?
2005-2006R Giner-Sorolla
Anticipated and actual affect in prejudice control
2003-2004R Giner-Sorolla and R J Brown
When and how does feeling guilty reduce prejudice?
2003-2004R Giner-Sorolla and R J Brown
When and how does feeling guilty reduce prejudice?
2003-2004R Giner-Sorolla and R J Brown
European Science Foundation Workshop Award
New directions in intergroup emotions (workshop conducted in September 2004)


SP801 Statistics and Methodology 


Professor Giner-Sorolla is available to supervise PhD candidates with a clear vision of what they want to study that has some fit with his research interests - broadly speaking, morally relevant emotions, collective apologies, or the other topics listed above.

Current research students

Past research students

  • Dr Heather Rolfe
  • Dr Tom Kupfer (University of Kent 50th Anniversary Research Scholarship): A reputation management and signalling account of moral disgust and moral contagion (2018)
  • Dr Darren McGee: Antecedents of shame and guilt in self-control, and harm (2017)
  • Dr Sarah Frisby-Osman (University of Kent 50th Anniversary Research Scholarship): Violent thugs or vulnerable youth? Reshaping how we think of gang members: An examination into their emotional and mental health needs (2020) (2nd supervisor)
  • Dr John Sabo (School of Psychology Departmental Studentship): The Fictive Pass Asymmetry: Condemnation of harm, but not purity, is mitigated by fictional contexts (2017)
  • Dr Stine Lokkeberg (2017)
  • Dr Valeschka Guerra: Individual and cultural differences in bases for moral judgment (Degree awarded July 2009)
  • Dr Roberto Gutierrez: Anger and disgust in moral judgment (Degree awarded July 2007)
  • Dr Neil McClatchie: Guilt, self-control, and the brain
  • Dr Pascale Russell: Disgust, anger, and emotional justification
  • Dr Erica Zaiser: Reception of intergroup apologies by apologizing group members
  • Dr Arielle Sagrillo Scarpati (CAPES Foundation): The role of culture and morality on men's acceptance of sexual aggression myths and perpetration of rape in Brazil and the United Kingdom (2018) (2nd supervisor)
  • Dr Pelin Gul (School of Psychology Departmental Studentship): Masculine honour leads to greater reputational concerns about gender conformity (2017) (2nd supervisor)
  • Dr Tom Page (School of Psychology Departmental Studentship): Sexual harassment: Investigating the role of social-cognitive mechanisms and group-based emotions (2015) (2nd supervisor)


Membership of professional organisations

  • American Psychological Society 
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology 
  • Society for Experimental Social Psychology
  • European Association for Social Psychology
  • International Society for Research on Emotions


  • Associate editor: Personality and Social Psychology Compass (2009-)
  • Associate editor: Group Processes and Intergroup Relations (2010-)
  • Co-editor (with Eliot Smith & Diane Mackie) of special issue on intergroup emotions, Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, January 2007.
  • Editorial board member: Basic and Applied Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Invited articles

  • “Hostile media bias,” “Guilty pleasures,” and “Grim Necessities,” Encyclopedia of Social Psychology, R. J. Baumeister & K. D. Vohs, eds. (in press)
  • “Attitudes Towards Prostitution,”  Historical Encyclopedia of Prostitution, M. H. Ditmore, ed. (2006).

Invited teaching

  • Co-teacher of workshops at the International Graduate College summer schools, Menaggio, Italy, April 2006, and Schloss Hasenwinkel, Germany, April 2009.
  • Workshops on experimental design and affective attitude measurement, ESRC Research Methods Festival, Oxford University, July 2008.
  • Workshop on experimental design, British Psychology Society Social Section Conference, Canterbury, Kent, September 2007.
  • Seminar on intergroup emotions, University of Sussex, Spring 2007.
  • Selected symposia and meetings organised
  • September, 2010: Co-organiser (with Mario Weick) of ESRC consulting seminar (SCONET), "Social Cognition and Neuroscience," University of Kent.
  • October, 2009: Co-organiser (with Mario Weick) of IGC/ESRC consulting seminar (SCONET), "Groups and Social Cognition," University of Kent.
  • June, 2006: Organiser of symposium, “Beyond Guilty Feelings: Consequences of Group-Based Guilt and its Alternatives” at the Society for the Psychological Study of Social issues meeting, Long Beach, California.
  • October, 2005: Co-organiser of symposium, “New Directions in Intergroup Emotions” (with Diane Mackie and Eliot Smith) at the Society for Experimental Social Psychology meeting, San Diego, California
  • July, 2005: Chair of symposium, Affect in attitudes: Its role in social value judgment and information processing at the general meeting of the European Association for Experimental Social Psychology, Würzburg, Germany.
  • September, 2004: Scientific organiser (with Rupert Brown) of ESF exploratory workshop, "New directions in the social psychology of intergroup emotions," Canterbury, UK.
  • February, 2003: Chair of symposium, Quick to judge, slower to change? Affect in judgments of stigmatized people and acts, at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology meeting, Universal City, CA.

Other academic activities

  • Reviewer pool member: European Science Foundation; ESRC Peer review College; US National Science Foundation.
  • External examiner, MSc in Research Methods, University of Liverpool, 2007-2009.
  • Director of Graduate Studies, School of Psychology, University of Kent, 2008-2016.


Showing 50 of 135 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Aczel, B., Szaszi, B., Sarafoglou, A., Kekecs, Z., Kucharský, Š, Benjamin, D., Chambers, C., Fisher, A., Gelman, A., Gernsbacher, M., Ioannidis, J., Johnson, E., Jonas, K., Kousta, S., Lilienfeld, S., Lindsay, D., Morey, C., Munafò, M., Newell, B., Pashler, H., Shanks, D., Simons, D., Wicherts, J., Albarracin, D., Anderson, N., Antonakis, J., Arkes, H., Back, M., Banks, G., Beevers, C., Bennett, A., Bleidorn, W., Boyer, T., Cacciari, C., Carter, A., Cesario, J., Clifton, C., Conroy, R., Cortese, M., Cosci, F., Cowan, N., Crawford, J., Crone, E., Curtin, J., Engle, R., Farrell, S., Fearon, P., Fichman, M., Frankenhuis, W., Freund, A., Gaskell, M., Giner-Sorolla, R., Green, D., Greene, R., Harlow, L., de la Guardia, F., Isaacowitz, D., Kolodner, J., Lieberman, D., Logan, G., Mendes, W., Moersdorf, L., Nyhan, B., Pollack, J., Sullivan, C., Vazire, S., & Wagenmakers, E. (2020). A consensus-based transparency checklist. Nature Human Behaviour, 4, 4-6. doi:10.1038/s41562-019-0772-6
    We present a consensus-based checklist to improve and document the transparency of research reports in social and behavioural research. An accompanying online application allows users to complete the form and generate a report that they can submit with their manuscript or post to a public repository.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R. (2019). From crisis of evidence to a “crisis” of relevance? Incentive-based answers for social psychology’s perennial relevance worries. European Review of Social Psychology, 30, 1-38. doi:10.1080/10463283.2018.1542902
    Current controversies in social psychology have sparked the promotion of new rules for evidence in the field. This “crisis of evidence” echoes prior concerns from the 1970’s about a so-called “crisis of social psychology”, with such issues as replication and statistical significance once more under examination. I argue that parallel concerns about the relevance of our research, raised but not completely resolved in the 1970’s crisis, also deserve a fresh look. In particular, the advances made in the current crisis of evidence came about because of changes in academic career incentives--particularly publishing. Today, many voices in psychology urge greater respect for relevance in topics, methods and communication, but the lack of clear and concrete incentives to do so has stood in the way of answers. I diagnose the current incentive structures, propose partial solutions that are within the reach of journal editors and professional societies, and conclude by discussing the links between relevance and evidence, as well as special challenges to the relevance of social psychology post-2016.
  • Leone, G., Giner-Sorolla, R., D’Errico, F., Migliorisi, S., & Sessa, I. (2018). It’s time to be ashamed! Reactions to the breaking of a long-lasting self-censorship on ingroup war crimes. Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 25, 519-535. doi:10.4473/TPM25.4.4
    This study explores the reactions of Italian university students to information about colonial crimes perpetrated by the Italian Army during the invasion of Ethiopia (1935-36), events that are still self-censored in intergenerational narratives. Participants reported their emotions about the Italian colonial past and their knowledge of this historical period was examined. Then they read a parrhesic (i.e., straightforward) or, alternatively, an evasive narrative of crimes committed in Ethiopia in 1935-36 and, once again, reported related emotions. A week later, they evaluated the crimes’ seriousness, reported for the third time their emotions about Italy’s colonial past, and declared their moral shame, social shame, and guilt for colonial crimes. Finally, they expressed their support for reparative actions. As expected, the vast majority of participants knew little about past misdeeds. Participants presented with a parrhesic narrative were more able to acknowledge older generations’ responsibilities and to distance themselves morally from them. Moral and social shame, outrage, and a reduced sense of pride, rather than guilt or anger, predicted support for reparations. The limitations of the present study, and future research perspectives, are discussed.
  • Davis, W., Giner-Sorolla, R., Lindsay, D., Lougheed, J., Makel, M., Meier, M., Sun, J., Vaughn, L., & Zelenski, J. (2018). Peer Review Guidelines Promoting Replicability and Transparency in Psychological Science. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/2515245918806489
    More and more psychological researchers have come to appreciate the perils of common but poorly justified research practices, and are rethinking commonly held standards for evaluating research. As this methodological reform expresses itself in psychological research, peer reviewers of such work must also adapt their practices to remain relevant. Reviewers of journal submissions wield considerable power to promote methodological reform, contributing to the advancement of a more robust psychological literature. We describe concrete practices that reviewers can use to encourage transparency, intellectual humility, and more valid assessments of methods and statistics.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R. (2018). The past thirty years of emotion research: appraisal and beyond. Cognition and Emotion. doi:10.1080/02699931.2018.1523138
    For this Special Issue, I highlight the past and present importance of appraisal theory as well as the challenges to its status as a total theory of emotions from the other functions of emotions: associative learning, self-regulation and social communication. This theoretical view applies both to emotion research in general and the specific fields of my interest in the emotions of moral judgment and intergroup processes. Methodologically, developments in analyses of large and more naturally occurring data sets will give an opportunity to square psychology's structural models of discrete emotions with the more complicated reality that exists. Both for the field and for individual researchers picking up the study of emotions, my advice is to pay special attention to measures, their assumptions and their context.
  • Yetkili, O., Abrams, D., Travaglino, G., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2018). Imagined contact with atypical outgroup members that are anti-normative within their group can reduce prejudice. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 76, 208-219. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2018.02.004
    Can imagining contact with anti-normative outgroup members be an effective tool for improving intergroup relations? Extant theories predict greatest prejudice reduction following contact with typical outgroup members. In contrast, using subjective group dynamics theory, we predicted that imagining contact with anti-normative outgroup members canpromote positive intergroup attitudes because these atypical members potentially reduce intergroup threat and reinforce ingroup norms. In Study 1 (N = 79) when contact was imagined with an anti-normative rather than a normative outgroup member, that member was viewed as less typical and the contact was less threatening. Studies 2 (N = 47) and 3 (N = 180), employed differing methods, measures and target groups, and controlled for the effects of direct contact. Both studies showed that imagined contact with anti-normative outgroup members promoted positive attitudes to the outgroup, relative both to a no contact control condition and (in Study 3) to a condition involving imagined contact with an ingroup antinormative member. Overall, this research offers new practical and theoretical approaches to prejudice reduction.
  • Prati, F., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2018). Perceiving Mixed Valence Emotions Reduces Intergroup Dehumanization. Cognition and Emotion, 32, 1018-1031. doi:10.1080/02699931.2017.1383885
    To deny others’ humanity is one of the most heinous forms of intergroup prejudice. Given evidence that perceiving various forms of complexity in outgroup members reduces intergroup prejudice, we investigated across three experiments whether the novel dimension of emotional complexity, or outgroup members’ joint experience of mixed-valence emotions, would also reduce their dehumanization. Experiment 1 found that perceiving fictitious aliens’ experience of the same primary emotions (e.g., sadness) presented in mixed vs. non-mixed valence pairs led to reduced prejudice via attenuated dehumanization, i.e. attribution of uniquely human emotions. Experiment 2 confirmed these results, using an unfamiliar real-world group as an outgroup target. Experiment 3 used a familiar outgroup and found generally similar effects, reducing social distance through reduced dehumanization. These processes suggest that an alternate route to reduced dehumanizing of outgroups might involve presenting mixed valence emotions.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R., Amodio, D., & van Kleef, G. (2018). Three Strong Moves to Improve Research and Replications Alike. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 41, e130. doi:10.1017/S0140525X18000651
    We suggest three additional improvements to replication practices. First, original research should include concrete checks on validity, encouraged by editorial standards. Second, the reasons for replicating a particular study should be more transparent, and balance systematic positive reasons with selective negative ones. Third, methodological validity should also be factored into evaluating replications, with methodologically inconclusive replications not counted as non-replications.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R., & Fischer, A. (2017). Contempt, as any other social affect, can be an emotion as well as a sentiment. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40. doi:10.1017/S0140525X16000765
    Gervais and Fessler assert that contempt is (a) not an emotion (or an attitude), but (b) a sentiment. Here, we challenge the validity and empirical basis of these two assertions, arguing that contempt, as many other emotions, can be both an emotion and sentiment.
  • Sabo, J., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2017). Imagining wrong: Fictitious contexts mitigate condemnation of harm more than impurity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146, 134-153. doi:10.1037/xge0000251
    Over five experiments we test the fictive pass asymmetry hypothesis. Following observations of ethics and public reactions to media, we propose that fictional contexts, such as reality, imagination, and virtual environments, will mitigate people’s moral condemnation of harm violations, more so than purity violations. That is, imagining a purely harmful act is given a “fictive pass,” in moral judgment, whereas imagining an abnormal act involving the body is evaluated more negatively because it is seen as more diagnostic of bad character. For Experiment 1, an undergraduate sample (N = 250) evaluated nine vignettes depicting an agent committing either violations of harm or purity in real life, watching them in films, or imagining them. For Experiments 2 and 3, online participants (N = 375 and N = 321, respectively) evaluated a single vignette depicting an agent committing a violation of harm or purity that either occurred in real life, was imagined, watched in a film, or performed in a video game. Experiment 4 (N = 348) used an analysis of moderated mediation to demonstrate that the perceived wrongness of fictional purity violations is explained both by the extent to which they are seen as a cue to, and a cause of, a poor moral character. Lastly, Experiment 5 (N = 484) validated our manipulations and included the presumption of desire as an additional mediator of the fictive pass asymmetry effects. We discuss implications for moral theories of act and character, anger and disgust, and for media use and regulation.
  • Kupfer, T., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2016). Communicating Moral Motives: The Social Signaling Function of Disgust. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 632-640. doi:10.1177/1948550616679236
    Disgust motivates disease avoidance but it is unclear why it is also reported towards moral violations. Previous explanations have focused on identifying the type of violation specific to disgust. Here, we propose that people will express disgust towards any type of moral violation in order to communicate particular motives. Unlike anger, which can be seen as self-interested, disgust communicates a more disinterested, moral motivation. In two experiments we show that observers infer more moral motivation from an expression of disgust, and more self-interested motivation from anger. Two further experiments testing participants’ own expression decisions demonstrated that disgust is chosen more to show moral concern and anger is chosen to protest harm to one’s self-interest. By shifting focus to the interpersonal effects of emotion expressions, these findings offer a new perspective for understanding the role of disgust in morality.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R., & Chapman, H. (2016). Beyond Purity: Moral Disgust toward Bad Character. Psychological Science, 28, 80-91. doi:10.1177/0956797616673193
    Previous studies support a link between moral disgust and impurity, while anger is linked to harm. We challenge this strict correspondence, and show that disgust is sensitive to information about moral character, even for harm violations. By contrast, anger is sensitive to information about actions, including their moral wrongness and consequences. Study 1 examined disgust and anger toward an action that indicates especially bad moral character (animal cruelty) versus an action that is more wrong (domestic abuse). Animal cruelty was associated with more disgust, whereas domestic abuse was associated with more anger. Studies 2 and 3 manipulated character by varying the agent’s desire to cause harm, and also varied the action’s harmful consequences. Desire to harm predicted only disgust (controlling for anger), while consequences were more closely related to anger (controlling for disgust). Taken together, these results indicate disgust responds to evidence of bad moral character, not just to impurity.
  • van t’Veer, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2016). Pre-Registration in Social Psychology — a Discussion and Suggested Template. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 67, 2-12. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.03.004
    Pre-registration of studies before they are conducted has recently become more feasible to researchers, and is encouraged by an increasing number of journals. However, because the practice of pre-registration is relatively new to psychological science, specific guidelines for the content of registrations are still in a formative stage. After giving a brief history of pre-registration in medical and psychological research, we outline two different models that can be applied—reviewed and unreviewed pre-registration—and discuss the advantages of each model to science as a whole and to the individual scientist, as well as some of their drawbacks and limitations. Finally, we present and justify a proposed standard template that can facilitate pre-registration. Researchers can use the template before and during the editorial process to meet article requirements and enhance the robustness of their scholarly efforts.
  • van den Tol, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2016). Listening to ironically-enjoyed music: A self-regulatory perspective. Psychology of Music, 45, 321-337. doi:10.1177/0305735616658956
    This research examines adults’ reported motivations for listening to music that they enjoy ironically. In a pilot (N = 96) and main (N = 175) studies, open-ended responses from adults were analysed using Thematic Analysis. Based on the pilot study, ironically enjoyed music was defined as “Music that is enjoyed because of being bad, despite being bad, or for different reasons than intended.” Although many relevant self-regulatory functions of listening to music in general were also relevant to ironically- enjoyed music, it also emerged that ironic enjoyment of music has characteristics that are unique to it: the additional role of mocking, ridiculing, and laughing at the music, and the social benefit that this provides. Music that was listened to “because of” its negative features had a variety of musical features, and the listening usually served functions unique to ironic enjoyment of music, such as mockery. When music was listened to “despite” negative qualities, the music itself was often described as having attractive rhythm, melody or lyrics, while the irony protected the listener from conflicting values associated with the music, helping the listener communicate to others that they did not identify with the music on a higher level. Unfamiliar music mainly played a social role, whereas familiar music related to nostalgia as well as most other functions.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R. (2016). Approaching a fair deal for significance and other concerns. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 65, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2016.01.010
    Inaugural editorial for JESP addressing new standards at the journal and the question of statistical evidence.
  • Fischer, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2016). Contempt: Derogating Others While Keeping Calm. Emotion Review, 8, 346-357. doi:10.1177/1754073915610439
    While philosophers have discussed the emotion of contempt from antiquity to the present day, contempt has received less attention in psychological research. We review the defining features of contempt, both as a short-term emotion and as a more long lasting sentiment. Contempt is similar to anger in that it may occur after (repeated) social or moral transgressions, but it differs from anger in its appraisals, actions and emotivational goals. Unlike anger, contempt arises when a person’s or group’s character is appraised as bad and unresponsive to change, leading to attempts to socially exclude the target. We discuss associative, self-regulatory and social distancing functions of contempt and present a dynamic social model of contempt versus anger.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R., & Cichocka, A. (2016). Emotion regulation beyond appraisals: Other routes to sustained and changed intergroup feelings. Psychological Inquiry, 27, 96-100. doi:10.1080/1047840X.2016.1160760
    A commentary on the Cehajic-Clancy et al. (2016) Psychological Inquiry target article. We argue for the applicability of other functions of emotion beyond their appraisal model to intergroup reconciliation.
  • McLatchie, N., Derbyshire, S., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2016). "Imagined guilt” versus “recollected guilt”: Implications for fMRI. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. doi:10.1093/scan/nsw001
    Guilt is thought to maintain social harmony by motivating reparation (Haidt, 2003; Trivers, 1971). The present study compared two methodologies commonly used to identify the neural correlates of guilt. The first, imagined guilt, requires participants to read hypothetical scenarios and then imagine themselves as the protagonist. The second, recollected guilt, requires participants to reflect on times they personally experienced guilt. In the fMRI scanner, participants were presented with guilt/neutral memories and guilt/neutral hypothetical scenarios. Contrasts confirmed a priori predictions that guilt memories, relative to guilt scenarios, were associated with significantly greater activity in regions associated with affect (ACC, Basal GangliaCaudate, Insular, OFC) and social cognition (TP, precuneus). Similarly, results indicated that guilt memories, relative to neutral memories, were also associated with greater activity in affective (ACC, amygdala, Insular, OFC) and social cognition (mPFC, TP, precuneus, TPJ) regions. There were no significant differences between guilt hypothetical scenarios and neutral hypothetical scenarios in either affective or social cognition regions. The importance of distinguishing between different guilt inductions inside the scanner are discussed. We offer explanations of our results and discuss ideas for future research.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2015). “It Was Only Harmless Banter!” The development and preliminary validation of the moral disengagement in sexual harassment scale. Aggressive Behavior, 1-48. doi:10.1002/ab.21621
    Sexual harassment represents aggressive behavior that is often enacted instrumentally, in response to a threatened sense of masculinity and male identity. To date, however, theoretical attention to the social cognitive processes that regulate workplace harassment is scant. This article presents the development and preliminary validation of the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Harassment Scale (MDiSH); a self-report measure of moral disengagement in the context of hostile work environment harassment. Three studies (total N = 797) document the excellent psychometric properties of this new scale. Male U.K. university students (Study 1: N = 322) and U.S. working males (Studies 2 and 3: N = 475) completed the MDiSH and an array of measures for construct validation. The MDiSH exhibited positive correlations with sexual harassment myth acceptance, male gender identification, and hostile sexism. In Study 3, participants were exposed to a fictitious case of hostile work environment harassment. The MDiSH attenuated moral judgment, negative emotions (guilt, shame, and anger), sympathy, and endorsement of prosocial behavioral intentions (support for restitution) associated with the harassment case. Conversely, the MDiSH increased positive affect (happiness) about the harassment and attribution of blame to the female complainant. Implications for practice and future research avenues are discussed.
  • Portch, E., Havelka, J., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2015). Using affective knowledge to generate and validate a set of emotion-related, action words. PeerJ, 3, e1100-e1100. doi:10.7717/peerj.1100
    Emotion concepts are built through situated experience. Abstract word meaning is grounded in this affective knowledge, giving words the potential to evoke emotional feelings and reactions (e.g., Vigliocco et al., 2009). In the present work we explore whether words differ in the extent to which they evoke ‘specific’ emotional knowledge. Using a categorical approach, in which an affective ‘context’ is created, it is possible to assess whether words proportionally activate knowledge relevant to different emotional states (e.g., ‘sadness’, ‘anger’, Stevenson, Mikels & James, 2007a). We argue that this method may be particularly effective when assessing the emotional meaning of action words (e.g., Schacht & Sommer, 2009). In study 1 we use a constrained feature generation task to derive a set of action words that participants associated with six, basic emotional states (see full list in Appendix S1). Generation frequencies were taken to indicate the likelihood that the word would evoke emotional knowledge relevant to the state to which it had been paired. In study 2 a rating task was used to assess the strength of association between the six most frequently generated, or ‘typical’, action words and corresponding emotion labels. Participants were presented with a series of sentences, in which action words (typical and atypical) and labels were paired e.g., “If you are feeling ‘sad’ how likely would you be to act in the following way?” … ‘cry.’ Findings suggest that typical associations were robust. Participants always gave higher ratings to typical vs. atypical action word and label pairings, even when (a) rating direction was manipulated (the label or verb appeared first in the sentence), and (b) the typical behaviours were to be performed by the rater themselves, or others. Our findings suggest that emotion-related action words vary in the extent to which they evoke knowledge relevant for different emotional states. When measuring affective grounding, it may then be appropriate to use categorical ratings in conjunction with unimodal measures, which assess the ‘magnitude’ to which words evoke feelings (e.g., Newcombe et al., 2012). Towards this aim we provide a set of emotion-related action words, accompanied by generation frequency and rating data, which show how strongly each word evokes knowledge relevant to basic emotional states.
  • Allpress, J., Brown, R., Giner-Sorolla, R., Deonna, J., & Teroni, F. (2014). Two Faces of Group-Based Shame: Moral Shame and Image Shame Differentially Predict Positive and Negative Orientations to Ingroup Wrongdoing. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 40, 1270-1284. doi:10.1177/0146167214540724
    This article proposes distinctions between guilt and two forms of shame: Guilt arises from a violated norm and is characterized by a focus on specific behavior; shame can be characterized by a threatened social image (Image Shame) or a threatened moral essence (Moral Shame). Applying this analysis to group-based emotions, three correlational studies are reported, set in the context of atrocities committed by (British) ingroup members during the Iraq war (Ns = 147, 256, 399). Results showed that the two forms of shame could be distinguished. Moreover, once the other form of shame was controlled for, they were differentially related to orientations toward the outgroup: Image Shame was associated with negative orientations, whereas Moral Shame had associations with positive outgroup orientations. These associations were distinct from the associations of guilt and rejection. Study 3 used a longitudinal design and provided evidence suggestive of a causal direction from emotions to outgroup orientation.
  • Brandt, M., IJzerman, H., Dijksterhuis, A., Farach, F., Geller, J., Giner-Sorolla, R., Grange, J., Perugini, M., Spies, J., & van ’t Veer, A. (2014). The Replication Recipe: What makes for a convincing replication?. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 50, 217-224. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2013.10.005
    Psychological scientists have recently started to reconsider the importance of close replications in building a cumulative knowledge base; however, there is no consensus about what constitutes a convincing close replication study. To facilitate convincing close replication attempts we have developed a Replication Recipe, outlining standard criteria for a convincing close replication. Our Replication Recipe can be used by researchers, teachers, and students to conduct meaningful replication studies and integrate replications into their scholarly habits.
  • LeBel, E., Borsboom, D., Giner-Sorolla, R., Hasselman, F., Peters, K., Ratliff, K., & Smith, C. (2013). PsychDisclosure.org: Grassroots support for reforming reporting standards in psychology. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 8, 424-432. doi:10.1177/1745691613491437
    There is currently an unprecedented level of doubt regarding the reliability of research findings in psychology. Many recommendations have been made to improve the current situation. In this article, we report results from PsychDisclosure.org, a novel open-science initiative that provides a platform for authors of recently published articles to disclose four methodological design specification details that are not required to be disclosed under current reporting standards but that are critical for accurate interpretation and evaluation of reported findings. Grassroots sentiment—as manifested in the positive and appreciative response to our initiative—indicates that psychologists want to see changes made at the systemic level regarding disclosure of such methodological details. Almost 50% of contacted researchers disclosed the requested design specifications for the four methodological categories (excluded subjects, nonreported conditions and measures, and sample size determination). Disclosed information provided by participating authors also revealed several instances of questionable editorial practices, which need to be thoroughly examined and redressed. On the basis of these results, we argue that the time is now for mandatory methods disclosure statements for all psychology journals, which would be an important step forward in improving the reliability of findings in psychology.
  • Zaiser, E., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Saying sorry: Shifting obligation after conciliatory acts satisfies perpetrator group members. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105, 585-604. doi:10.1037/a0033296
    How are intergroup conciliatory acts (apologies and reparations) evaluated by members of the perpetrator group offering them? This research tests whether these outcomes can be predicted by obligation shifting: the perception that a conciliatory act has shifted the onus away from the perpetrators and onto the victim group. Four experiments in different contexts examined 3 possible outcomes for members of the perpetrator group: satisfaction with the act, negative feelings toward the victims, and support for future assistance. Across all 4 experiments, perceptions of obligation shifting predicted satisfaction with conciliatory acts, as did the perception that the ingroup’s image had improved. Furthermore, obligation shifting alone related to more negative feelings about the victims and predicted reduced support for further acts of assistance. Image improvement perceptions did not show these effects, and sometimes were related to less negative feelings about the victims. Directly manipulating impressions of obligation shifting and image improvement (Experiment 3) showed these relationships were causal. When there were differences between types of acts on the 3 outcome variables, obligation shifting and image perceptions mediated these relationships. The negative implications of obligation shifting, as well as the more encouraging role of image improvement perceptions, are discussed.
  • Kamau, C., Giner-Sorolla, R., & Zebel, S. (2013). Reconciliation responses, blame, and expressions of guilt or shame. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, E287-E292. doi:10.1111/jasp.12048
    Recipients of intergroup apologies have been found to prefer expressions of shame over guilt. However, there is little research comparing the responses of a wronged group with those of a blamed group. Kenyans/Britons evaluated guilt/shame statements about colonialism, with blame measured as the assignment of collective guilt to Britain. Among Britons, there was a significant interaction, with high in-group blamers expecting more reconciliation from shame than from guilt, and vice versa for low in-group blamers. Among Kenyans, there was no main effect of blame, but more reconciliation was expected from shame than from guilt. Wronged groups thus appear to prefer shame over guilt, whereas preference for guilt/shame among members of a blamed group depends on the level of in-group blame.
  • Guerra, V., Giner-Sorolla, R., & Vasiljevic, M. (2013). The importance of honor concerns across eight countries. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 16, 298-318. doi:10.1177/1368430212463451
    Honor concerns are considered an important part of one’s self-image, and strongly associated to cultural values. However, there is a lack of research studies that explore these concerns in more than two cultural communities. Across eight countries (Brazil, Israel, Japan, Macedonia, New Zealand, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States), participants (total N = 1098) answered the Honor Scale and the Community, Autonomy, and Divinity Scale. Individualistic cultures, such as the USA, were predominantly concerned with integrity honor, while Israel, Macedonia, and Japan (i.e., honor cultures) rated family honor closer to integrity in importance. Subscales measuring masculine and feminine honor showed gender differences, but not in all cultures; “masculine” honor items were often endorsed by both men and women alike. Regarding honor associations to moral codes, family concerns were closely related to community, integrity concerns were related to autonomy, and feminine concerns were related to divinity.
  • Russell, P., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Bodily moral disgust: What it is, how it is different from anger, and why it is an unreasoned emotion. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 328-351. doi:10.1037/a0029319
    With the recent upswing in research interest on the moral implications of disgust, there has been uncertainty about what kind of situations elicit moral disgust and whether disgust is a rational or irrational player in moral decision making. We first outline the benefits of distinguishing between bodily violations (e.g., sexual taboos, such as pedophilia and incest) and nonbodily violations (e.g., deception or betrayal) when examining moral disgust. We review findings from our lab and others' showing that, although many existing studies do not control for anger when studying disgust, disgust at nonbodily violations is often associated with anger and hard to separate from it, while bodily violations more consistently predict disgust independently of anger. Building on this distinction, we present further empirical evidence that moral disgust, in the context of bodily violations, is a relatively primitively appraised moral emotion compared to others such as anger, and also that it is less flexible and less prone to external justifications. Our review and results underscore the need to distinguish between the different consequences of moral emotions.
  • Russell, P., Piazza, J., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). CAD revisited: Effects of the word moral on the moral relevance of disgust (and other emotions). Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 62-68. doi:10.1177/1948550612442913
    The CAD model posits a mapping of contempt, anger, and disgust onto the moral codes of community, autonomy, and divinity, respectively. A recent study by Hutcherson and Gross posited moral disgust as the dominant other-condemning emotion across all three moral codes. However, the methodology used may have incidentally increased the relevance of disgust. In the current experiment, one condition repeated Hutcherson and Gross’s procedure, while in another condition, the authors added the word moral to three other emotions. Consistent with CAD, anger had the highest intensity ratings in response to autonomy violations, whereas "grossed out" was the dominant response to divinity violations. Furthermore, the adjective "moral" increased the relevance of anger, contempt, and fear in irrelevant domains, which suggests that the adjective moral increases any emotion’s moral relevance.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R., & Maitner, A. (2013). Angry at the Unjust, Scared of the Powerful: Emotional Responses to Terrorist Threat. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1069-1082. doi:10.1177/0146167213490803
    The threat of terrorist attacks motivates emotional reactions that elicit functional behavioral responses to characteristics of a threatening group. We argue that the more the group is seen as unjust, the more anger arises, whereas the more it is seen as powerful, the more fear arises. In Experiment 1, British participants read about terrorist groups with varied levels of injustice and power. As expected, the manipulation of injustice increased anger, and power increased fear. Anger and fear predicted offensive and defensive reactions. Experiment 2 used a representative sample of U.S. residents and again found distinct effects of an injustice manipulation on anger, and a power manipulation on fear. Anger was a primary motivator of support for offensive and defensive measures in both experiments. Willingness to negotiate was reduced with more injustice and anger, but increased with more outgroup power and fear. These findings have implications on public reactions to terrorist organizations.

Book section

  • Giner-Sorolla, R., Kupfer, T., & Sabo, J. (2018). What Makes Moral Disgust Special? An Integrative Functional Review. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 57). London, UK: Elsevier. Retrieved from https://www.elsevier.com/books/advances-in-experimental-social-psychology/olson/978-0-12-814689-7
    The role of disgust in moral psychology has been a matter of much controversy and experimentation over the past 20 or so years. We present here an integrative look at the literature, organized according to the four functions of emotion proposed by integrative functional theory (IFT): appraisal, associative, self-regulation and communicative. Regarding appraisals, we review experimental, personality, and neuroscientific work that has shown differences between elicitors of disgust and anger in moral contexts, with disgust responding more to bodily-moral violations such as incest, and anger responding more to socio-moral violations such as theft. We also present new evidence for interpreting the phenomenon of socio-moral disgust as an appraisal of bad character in a person. The associative nature of disgust is shown by evidence for “unreasoning disgust,” in which associations to bodily-moral violations are not accompanied by elaborated reasons, and not modified by appraisals such as harm or intent. We also critically examine the literature about the ability of incidental disgust to intensify moral judgments associatively. For disgust’s self-regulation function, we consider the possibility that disgust serves as an existential defense, regulating avoidance of thoughts that might threaten our basic self-image as living humans. Finally, we discuss new evidence from our lab that moral disgust serves a communicative function, implying that expressions of disgust serve to signal one’s own moral intentions even when a different emotion is felt internally on the basis of appraisal. Within the scope of the literature, there is evidence that all four functions of Giner-Sorolla’s (2012) integrative functional theory of emotion (IFT) may be operating, and that their variety can help explain some of the paradoxes of disgust.
  • Guerra, V., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2015). Investigating the three ethics in emerging adulthood: A study in three countries. In L. Jensen (Ed.), Moral development in a global world: Research from a cultural-developmental perspective (pp. 117-140). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Guerra, V., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2015). Investigating the three ethics in emerging adulthood: a study in five countries. In L. Jensen (Ed.), Moral Development in a Global World: Research from a Cultural-Developmental Perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/psychology/cultural-psychology/moral-development-global-world-research-cultural-developmental-perspective
  • Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). Intuition in 21st century moral psychology. In B. Held & L. Osbeck (Eds.), Rational Intuition: Philosophical Roots, Scientific Investigations (pp. 338-361). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/psychology/cognition/rational-intuition-philosophical-roots-scientific-investigations

Conference or workshop item

  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). "It was only harmless banter!" The role of in-group identification and moral disengagement on males’ justifications for sexual harassment.". In XIX. Workshop Aggression. Technische Universität Berlin.
  • Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). New publishing criteria in psychology: Why and how. In ESCON-2 Transfer of Knowledge Conference. Louvain-la-neuve, Belgium.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). "It was only harmless banter!" The neutralising role of moral disengagement on males’ justifications for sexual harassment. In Annual Conference of Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PSYPAG). Cardiff, UK.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2014). Justifying sexual harassment through moral disengagement: The role of in-group identification. In European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL) Annual Conference. St Petersburg State University, Russia.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Sexual harassment as interpersonal aggression: Exploring the role of moral disengagement. In XVIII. Workshop Aggression. Bielefeld, Germany.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Do perpetrators of sexual harassment use mechanisms of moral disengagement? Preliminary conceptualization and measurement. In European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL) Annual Conference. Coventry, UK.
  • Page, T., Pina, A., & Giner-Sorolla, R. (2013). Do perpetrators of sexual harassment use mechanisms of moral disengagement? Preliminary conceptualization and measurement. In 22nd Division of Forensic Psychology (DFP) Annual Conference. Queen’s University, Belfast.


  • Rolfe, H. (2019). Anger, disgust, and resulting action tendencies in the context of moral judgements of music.
    In media examples throughout history, discussion of controversial music often features emotional condemnation of the music on moral grounds. This makes little intuitive sense given that the moral emotions are usually associated with objects which are harmful or contaminating. Music is neither capable of causing direct harm nor contamination: as such, exploring anger and disgust in this context may shed new light on how these emotions are elicited and what action tendencies they may motivate. The first two studies presented in this thesis were carried out using open-ended methods: in Study 1 (n = 90), participants asked to describe a time they were disgusted by music most frequently mentioned a variety of immoral content types. This finding replicated in Study 2 (n = 94), which also suggested that anger responds to music which is harmful for personal reasons. Quantitative measures in the second study suggested five underlying factors of reasons for anger and disgust at music, which supported the qualitative findings by demonstrating a pattern of disgust at immoral factors and anger at personal factors. In Studies 3 (n = 106) and 4 (n = 85), the pattern of action tendencies elicited by anger and disgust at music suggest that disgusting music leads to interest in approaching the music in a hostile manner to cleanse its content from society, thus preventing the spread of immoral values. Bad aesthetics was found to elicit similar levels of disgust as immoral content but without the resulting higher levels of hostile approach tendencies. Study 5 presents a preliminary study into moralization of music which contaminates a preferred genre amongst highly-identified fans. The implications of these results for the wider field of research into the moral emotions, as well as the viability of ongoing research into this topic, are then discussed.
  • Kupfer, T. (2018). A reputation management and signalling account of moral disgust and moral contagion.
    Moral disgust is thought to be an emotion arising from perceptions of immorality as physically contaminating, in part based on experiments showing that participants are unwilling to contact immoral objects like a Nazi's armband. Here it is proposed that apparent contagiousness of immorality is driven by desire to avoid reputation harm by visibly associating with immorality. Hypothetical (Study 1) and behavioural (Study 2) evidence supported this account. Participants preferred to wear a Nazi armband under rather than over their clothing, even though this meant direct skin contact. The "under" preference was stronger with an audience. Participant reports revealed little contamination concern but strong reputation concern. Changing perspective, targets who touched but concealed the armband were not seen as contaminated or immoral (Study 3). If disgust reported towards immorality is not contaminating, it may not reflect activation of the full emotion of disgust. Instead, people may express disgust to communicate particular motives. Unlike anger, which can be seen as self-interested, disgust communicates a more principled, moral motivation. Studies 4 and 5 used scenarios to show that observers infer more moral motivation from an expression of disgust and more self-interested motivation from anger. Studies 6, 7 and 8 demonstrated that participants are more likely to choose to express disgust to show moral concern and anger to protest harm to one's self-interest. These findings offer a new perspective for understanding the role of disgust in morality: disgust is not expressed because people feel an internal state of disgust but because disgust effectively communicates morally motivated condemnation.
  • Sagrillo Scarpati, A. (2018). The role of culture and morality on men’s acceptance of sexual aggression myths and perpetration of rape in Brazil and the United Kingdom.
    The understanding of sexual violence perpetration is complex and calls for a multifactorial approach, as this behaviour seems to be the final product of an intricate arrangement of individual, social and contextual elements (Ward & Beech, 2006; Ward & Beech, 2008; Ward & Casey, 2010; Ward & Gannon, 2006). In addition, due to ethical constraints, this phenomenon cannot be investigated via realistic analogous studies in the context of the laboratory, making it hard for researchers to unveil the factors which are
    determinants for its occurrence. The primary goal of this thesis is to address this deficiency by discussing certain variables (sexism, moral values, rape myths and gender norms) that may serve to either legitimise types of sexually aggressive discourses and practices (and therefore
    increase the chances of its occurrence), or to condemn them (and thus lower those chances), exploring how it might affect men's likelihood to sexually offend (i.e., rape) women in two different countries. A series of six studies (of qualitative and quantitative nature) with adult men from one European (the U.K) and one Latin American (Brazil) culture were conducted. In line with expectations, overall results suggest that both social norms and morality play an important role in the way men understand sexual violence in both countries. More importantly, findings provide evidence of a strong relationship between individuals' use of moral
    disengagement strategies and their likelihood to perpetrate rape. Parallel to that, this piece of work offers researchers a new self-reported measure: the Moral Disengagement in Sexual Violence Scale (MDinSV). To conclude, this thesis presents a wider and more in-depth conceptualisation of the social-cognitive mechanisms that neutralise and justify sexually violent behaviour.
  • Gul, P. (2018). Masculine Honour Leads to Greater Reputational Concerns about Gender Conformity.
    To date, masculine honour beliefs have been studied in the context of insults, threats and moral transgressions, and almost exclusively linked to aggressive emotions (e.g., anger) and behaviour (e.g., fights, confrontations). Here, it is proposed that masculine honour beliefs can also be associated with subtle, withdrawal-related behaviours, such as reluctance to engaging in feminine tasks and befriend feminine men. Furthermore, based on the theory suggesting that manifest indicators of a culture of masculine honour are expressions of individuals' overactive 'reputation maintenance psychology', I tested whether these subtle behaviours are underpinned by reputation maintenance concerns. Using self-report measures and different cultural samples (UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia), the studies reported here as a whole provided evidence for the proposed associations and the reputation maintenance account. Studies 1a-b and 2a-b established an association between masculine honour ideals and men's self-presentations using masculine traits, as well as disfavourable judgments of effeminate men. Studies 3a-b and 4 focused on examining a voluntary relationship decision (choosing to associate oneself with a target as friends) to make reputational issues more salient and demonstrated that men who endorse higher levels of masculine honour beliefs were more reluctant to being friends with effeminate men. Study 4 further showed that this was due to high honour-endorsing men's concerns that being associated with an effeminate man who is perceived as lacking coalitional value would damage their own reputation among male friends. Focusing on the issue of men's disinterest in domestic roles such as child care, Studies 5a-b and 6 demonstrated a relationship between masculine honour beliefs and men's negative feelings (shame, frustration) about being a primary caregiver to their own children and revealed that this is due to high honour-endorsing men's concerns of losing reputation among their male friends, but not due to their wives' reduced appreciation of them. Taken together, these findings extend our understanding of individuals socialized with masculine honour norms, and also offer more nuanced explanations of men's anti-effeminacy bias and disinterest in communal roles.
  • Crispim, A. (2017). Exploring the validity evidence of core affect.
    Core affect is an elementary affective state expressed through subjective feelings. Nonetheless, despite extensive empirical evidence in the field, researchers still disagree about its dimensionality. Thus, the present thesis aims to verify the validity evidence of existing models of core affect, overcoming the methodological issues of previous studies, and establishing the dimensionality of core affect. First, theoretical contributions are presented, and both conceptual (e.g. what is core affect?) and methodological issues (e.g. how core affect is measured?) are discussed. Following that, two empirical studies are presented. The first study explores the dimensionality of core affect and provides validity evidence of a new core affect measure. In the second study, a robust-to-biases core affect measure is developed and tested. In addition, the relationship between core affect, contextual variables (e.g. mood) and personality traits are studied in a longitudinal design. Items formats and their consequences in the measurement of core affect (e.g. rating scales, forced-choice items) are debated. Theoretical and methodological advances are discussed at last, as well as limitations and future directions.
  • Kupfer, T. (2017). A reputation management and signalling account of moral disgust and moral contagion.
    Moral disgust is thought to be an emotion arising from perceptions of immorality as physically contaminating, in part based on experiments showing that participants are unwilling to contact immoral objects like a Nazi's armband. Here it is proposed that apparent contagiousness of immorality is driven by desire to avoid reputation harm by visibly associating with immorality. Hypothetical (Study 1) and behavioural (Study 2) evidence supported this account. Participants preferred to wear a Nazi armband under rather than over their clothing, even though this meant direct skin contact. The "under" preference was stronger with an audience. Participant reports revealed little contamination concern but strong reputation concern. Changing perspective, targets who touched but concealed the armband were not seen as contaminated or immoral (Study 3). If disgust reported towards immorality is not contaminating, it may not reflect activation of the full emotion of disgust. Instead, people may express disgust to communicate particular motives. Unlike anger, which can be seen as self-interested, disgust communicates a more principled, moral motivation. Studies 4 and 5 used scenarios to show that observers infer more moral motivation from an expression of disgust and more self-interested motivation from anger. Studies 6, 7 and 8 demonstrated that participants are more likely to choose to express disgust to show moral concern and anger to protest harm to one's self-interest. These findings offer a new perspective for understanding the role of disgust in morality: disgust is not expressed because people feel an internal state of disgust but because disgust effectively communicates morally motivated condemnation.
  • Torp Løkkeberg, S. (2016). Risking the social bond when communicating unpleasant information: How self-relevant appraisals and feelings explain distancing and repair motivations.
    This thesis focuses on the communication of unpleasant information in six experimental studies. Specifically, the experimental studies investigate how withholding and/or disclosing unpleasant information is appraised by the communicator in three various ways (degree of severity, concern for one's self-image and concern for one's social-image in the eyes of others), how these appraisals relate to three core feelings (felt rejection, felt inferiority and felt shame), and how these explain two main motivations (wanting to distance oneself from the other, wanting to repair the social bond with the other) across various social bonds (both private and professional). In the two first studies it was found that disclosing unpleasant information caused the communicator to report significantly less distress (lower levels of appraisals, feelings and motivations) compared to when the communicator withheld the unpleasant information. In studies three to six, it was found that, when communicators disclosed the unpleasant information, the prototypical communication strategy of being person-centred caused the communicator to feel significantly less distress (lower levels of appraisals, feelings and responses) than if two other prototypical ways of communicating were used (the fully direct strategy and the fully indirect strategy). In all six studies, I found that the motivation of wanting to distance oneself from the other was explained by a "concern for one's social-image ? felt rejection" pathway, while the motivation to repair the social bond with the other was explained by a "concern for one's self-image ? felt shame" pathway. The thesis argues the importance of disclosing the unpleasant information and of disclosing it in a person-centred way.
  • Sabo, J. (2016). The fictive pass asymmetry: Condemnation of harm, but not purity, is mitigated by fictional contexts.
    Is there a double standard when it comes to the moral acceptability of fiction that encourages the imagination of acts that violate moral norms of harm and moral norms of purity? Observations of ethics, legal proceedings, and public reactions to different types of media seems to suggest so. Over six experiments this phenomenon, coined the fictive pass asymmetry, will be tested. The fictive pass asymmetry hypothesis proposes that fictional contexts including imagination, film, and virtual environments, will mitigate the condemnation of harm code violations more so than purity code violations. In other words, fictional representations of harm are given a "fictive pass" in moral condemnation, but the fictional representation of purity code violations that involve an abnormal use of one's body are denied a pass, and thus evaluated more similarly across real and fictional contexts.

    Chapters 1 through 3 introduce the fictive pass asymmetry and review the literature that provide its theoretical framework. Chapter 4 presents three experiments that establish initial evidence in support of the fictive pass asymmetry effects. Experiment 1 presented participants (N = 431) with vignettes that described agents committing either sexual acts or violent acts that were described as occurring in real life, being performed in a video game, or watched in a film. Experiments 2 and 3 (N = 360 and N = 321, respectively) systematically improved methodology by expanding upon the fictive contexts and creating manipulations based more strictly on the moral psychology literature. Chapter 5 presents experiment 4 (N = 312) and experiment 5 (N = 352) which deepened the understanding of the fictive pass asymmetry effects by using mediation analyses to demonstrate how the perceived wrongness of fictional purity code violations can be explained by the extent to which they signal poor moral character. Lastly, chapter 6 contains a final experiment (N = 484) and a series of meta-analyses. The final experiment considers fictive pass asymmetry effects in relation to an opposing theoretical framework, validates a number of manipulations, and tests the presumption of desire as an alternate explanation of fictive pass asymmetry effects. Finally, the meta-analyses aggregate the data of these experiments to highlight the robustness of the fictive pass asymmetry effects. Chapter 7, the concluding chapter, reviews the experiments and discusses the results in regards to theories of anger and disgust, moral theories of act and character, as well as the fictive pass asymmetry's implications in media use and regulation.
  • Salhi, R. (2015). An investigation into the influence that social and physical anti-smoking threat appeals have upon adolescent behavioural responses.
    The application of social marketing is rising due to its ability to promote behavioural change. This has catalysed the implementation of threat appeals across the health domain. The prominence of including physical threats that aim to elicit a fearful response has prevailed throughout threat appeal research. This over reliance and limited research has provided an opportunity to explore how other content influence attitudes and intentions towards behaviour. To the best of my knowledge, no research has systematically compared the differences between adolescents’ responses to social and physical threat appeals, specifically with those aged 11-13 who are the most vulnerable to starting to smoke. With theory suggesting that preventing adolescent smoking initiation holds the greatest reward; a conceptual model has been developed to evaluate how coping response is elicited to threat appeals. The model provides an interesting theoretical approach to evaluate responses that aim to reduce adolescent smoking initiation. Identified as one of the greatest failures in public health, marketing has been recommended to conquer adolescent initiation. The thesis provides innovative results, comparing responses between smoking classifications that provides practical findings. Attitudinal and intentional responses towards smoking was shown to be significantly different between samples depending on threat witnessed, thus identifying the need to segment campaigns. The development of the coping response classification provides a tool to assess whether the observer accepts the threat or disregards it. Specifically the research addresses three areas: 1) To investigate the differences between adolescent non-smokers’ and smokers’ responses to threat appeals; 2) To compare how social threats and physical threats influence post exposure responses; and 3) To develop a coping response classification to evaluate and estimate attitudinal and intentional responses between samples for each threat appeal to better understand responses to social marketing campaigns.


  • Giner-Sorolla, R., Burgmer, P., & Demir, N. (2020). Commentary on Over (2020): Well-taken Points About Dehumanization, But Exaggerated Challenges. Perspectives on Psychological Science. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/home/pps
    We offer a critical appraisal of Over's (2020) seven challenges for dehumanization research in social psychology. While the challenges mainly attack an exaggerated version of the claims that dehumanization research actually makes, the positive suggestions that follow them open up some much-needed questions. By seeing humanity as a prototype-based category, we can address more sensitively how various departures from prototypical humanity relate to each other. We can also ask whether all of these departures are equally necessary or sufficient explanations for the effects of dehumanizing treatment and metaphors in degrading moral consideration of other groups of people.
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