Always looking for a moral identity: The moral licensing effect in men convicted of domestic violence

Daniela Marzana, María L. Vecina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

People who act in accord with moral standards enjoy a strong moral self-concept, but people with a strong moral concept do not always behave morally: sometimes they exhibit consistent behaviors and sometimes compensatory behaviors. Through two studies, this paper shows that people who do wrong enjoy a stronger moral self-concept and regulate their moral behavior accordingly. Specifically, men in court-mandated psychological treatment for having employed violence against their partners manage to preserve a very positive moral self-concept. They also exhibit moral self-regulation: when prompted to consider their high moral self-concepts, they recalled performing significantly more prosocial behaviors in the previous year (consistency effect), and immediately following this, they relaxed their future intentions to act in prosocial manners over the next year (licensing effect). This novel connection between intimate partner violence and moral regulation allows us to observe the dark side of feeling too moral in a sensitive sample.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-38
Number of pages6
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Volume41
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Intimate partner violence (IPV)
  • Moral licensing effect
  • Moral self-concept
  • Psychology (all)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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