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The Moral Foundations of Human Rights Attitudes

Stolerman, D; Lagnado, D; (2019) The Moral Foundations of Human Rights Attitudes. Political Psychology 10.1111/pops.12539. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Human rights are claimed to be innate and based on moral principles. Human rights attitudes have been shown to be related to political ideology, but there have been few studies investigating their relationship with morality. Using moral foundations theory, we examine whether morals can predict human rights attitudes across two studies. The first study used questionnaires to show that human rights are based exclusively on individualizing moral foundations; however, increases in individualizing and decreases in binding foundations predict increases in human rights endorsement. Moral foundations also mediated the relationship between political identification and human rights. Both individualizing and binding foundations performed a role in explaining the lower endorsement of human rights by conservatives as compared to liberals. The second study used textual analysis of newspaper articles to show that human-rights-related articles contained more moral language than other articles, in particular for the individualizing foundations. Conservative newspapers had a greater use of binding foundations in human rights articles than liberal newspapers.

Type: Article
Title: The Moral Foundations of Human Rights Attitudes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/pops.12539
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/pops.12539
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: morality; moral foundations theory; human rights; moral foundations dictionary; human rights questionnaire; moral foundations questionnaire
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10065014
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