Date of Award

5-23-2010

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Marie Helweg-Larsen

Language

English

Abstract

Cigarette smoking is a moralized behavior in American culture, with smokers judged as immoral people. Moral judgments in general are informed by emotions, and the CAD triad hypothesis suggests that three emotions in particular - contempt, anger and disgust - map onto three moral domains, community, autonomy, and divinity. Since smoking can be interpreted as a violation of these moral domains, the applicability of the CAD hypothesis to smoking warrants further investigation. In order to test the effects of two emotions on the moral judgment of smokers specifically, two experiments were conducted in which disgust and anger were experimentally elicited. Experiment 1 (60 participants) found that disgust did not alter judgments of smokers in general or in the divinity domain, and it did not inspire desire avoidance desire. Similarly, Experiment 2 (44 participants) found that negative affect did not cause participants to make more severe moral judgments of smokers in general, or to express greater desire to punish or avoid them. The implications of these findings in the context of the moralization of smoking are discussed. Future research should continue to investigate how morality is acquired and how moral censoring affects both smokers and society at large.

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