DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2018.06.007
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The mere liking effect: Attitudinal influences on attributions of moral character

Konrad Bocian,Wieslaw Baryla,Wojciech Kulesza,Simone Schnall,Bogdan Wojciszke

Social perception
Impression formation
Neuroscience
Abstract People believe that their moral judgments are well-justified and as objective as scientific facts. Still, dual-process models of judgment provide strong theoretical reasons to expect that in reality moral judgments are substantially influenced by highly subjective factors such as attitudes. In four experiments (N = 645) we provide evidence that similarity-dissimilarity of beliefs, mere exposure, and facial mimicry influence judgments of moral character measured in various ways. These influences are mediated by changes in liking of the judged persons, suggesting that attitudinal influences lay at the core of moral character perceptions. Changes in mood do not play such a role. This is the first line of studies showing that attitudes influence moral judgments in addition to frequently studied discrete emotions. It is also the first research evidencing the affective influences on judgments of moral character.


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