The Interactive Effect of Anger and Disgust in Moral Outrage and Judgments
Salerno, Jessica M.
Peter-Hagene, Liana C.
PublisherAssociation for Psychological Science
MetadataShow full item record
Two studies demonstrated that moral outrage is predicted not just from anger, but from a combination of anger and disgust. In Study 1, anger toward moral transgressions (sexual assault, funeral picketing) predicted moral outrage only when it co-occurred with at least moderate disgust, and vice versa. In Study 2, a mock jury paradigm that included emotionally disturbing photographs of a murder victim revealed disgust (versus anger) to be a more consistent predictor—predicting moral outrage at all levels of anger. Further, anger increased confidence in a guilty verdict through moral outrage—but only when co-occurring with at least a moderate level of disgust, whereas disgust increased confidence in a guilty verdict through moral outrage at all levels of anger. The interactive effect of anger and disgust has important implications for theoretical explanations of moral outrage, moral judgments in general, and legal decision making.