Emotions as moral amplifiers: An appraisal tendency approach to the influences of distinct emotions upon moral judgment
In this article, we advance the perspective that distinct emotions amplify different moral judgments, based on the emotion’s core appraisals. This theorizing yields four insights into the way emotions shape moral judgment. We submit that there are two kinds of specificity in the impact of emotion upon moral judgment: domain specificity and emotion specificity. We further contend that the unique embodied aspects of an emotion, such as nonverbal expressions and physiological responses, contribute to an emotion’s impact on moral judgment. Finally, emotions play a key role in determining which issues acquire moral significance in a society over time, in a process known as moralization (Rozin, 1999). The implications of these four observations for future research on emotion and morality are discussed. Keywords embodiment, emotion, moral judgment, moralization Emotions are inherently subjective. They arise as the result of personal appraisals, and disrupt seemingly more orderly, deliberate forms of judgment and reasoning. From this perspective, emotions would seem to be inappropriate guides to decisions about moral conduct and virtuous character.