Short review: Jonathan Haidt, Sumio Imada, Laura Lowery, Paul Rozin, The CAD Triad Hypothesis: A Mapping Between Three Moral Emotions (Contempt, Anger, Disgust) and Three Moral Codes (Community, Autonomy, Divinity), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1999, Vol. 76, No. 4, 574-586.

Short review:

Jonathan Haidt, Sumio Imada, Laura Lowery, Paul Rozin, The CAD Triad Hypothesis: A Mapping Between Three Moral Emotions (Contempt, Anger, Disgust) and Three Moral Codes (Community, Autonomy, Divinity), Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1999, Vol. 76, No. 4, 574-586.

1. Summary

(a)    Theses

Thesis 1: Contempt, anger and disgust are emotions which are triggered by the violation of the rules of specific part of the moral domain.

Thesis 2: Contempt is, most likely, triggered by the violation of the ethics of community; anger is, most likely, triggered by the violation of the ethics of autonomy; divinity is, most likely, triggered by the violation of the ethics of divinity

(b)   Experimental setting

Experiment 1: American and Japanese participants of the experiment read a list of moral violations and then chose the most appropriate face that an onlooker would make (contempt, anger, or disgust) or the most appropriate emotion word to describe an onlooker’s feelings (contempt, anger, or disgust). The situations represented violations of the three moral codes: community (community/hierarchy violations), autonomy (individual freedom/rights violations) and divinity (divinity/purity violations). In all but two cases, the predicted emotion was chosen more frequently than the sum of other two.

Experiment 2: American and Japanes participants of the experiment were to decide which moral system (individual freedom/rights; community/hierarchy; divinity/purity) was violated in the situations presented to them. The exact same list was used as in experiment 1. In 19/27 situations, the dominant moral code was greater or equal than the sum of the other two classifications.

Experiment 3: The participants were asked to read each of the situations of the moral rules violation from experiment 1 and produce the face that was appropriate to the situation. 13 of the 14 correlations were positive.

2. Critical comments

1)      It is sometimes suggested, that contempt is not a fundamental but a derived class of other-directed moral emotions. On such view, contempt is a blend of anger and disgust. This thesis is plausible because community can be thought of as an organized, dynamic system of individuals, where each person has a particular place. In this respect, community is like nature. Therefore,  violations of community rules can be thought of as violations of autonomy and divinity rules.

2)      It would be interesting to see which brain structures are most active when persons perform the experimental task. Especially, it is interesting whether there is a significant difference between the activity in the structures associated with the “cognitive” processes and “emotional” responses.

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