Meta-ethics and the mortality: Mortality salience leads people to adopt a less subjectivist morality
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KünyeYılmaz, O., Bahçekapılı, H. G. (2018). Meta-ethics and the mortality: Mortality salience leads people to adopt a less subjectivist morality. Cognition, 179, 171-177. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.06.014
Although lay notions in normative ethics have previously been investigated within the framework of the dual-process interpretation of the terror management theory (TMT), meta-ethical beliefs (subjective vs. objective morality) have not been previously investigated within the same framework. In the present research, we primed mortality salience, shown to impair reasoning performance in previous studies, to see whether it inhibits subjectivist moral judgments in three separate experiments. In Experiment 3, we also investigated whether impaired reasoning performance indeed mediates the effect of mortality salience on subjectivism. The results of the three experiments consistently showed that people in the mortality salience group reported significantly less subjectivist responses than the control group, and impaired reasoning performance partially mediates it. Overall, the results are consistent with the dual-process interpretation of TMT and suggest that not only normative but also meta-ethical judgments can be explained by this model.