What is moral elevation?

In essence, the moral elevation It is a difficult feeling to define that appears when we see someone do something very positive or generous with someone, which also gives us some exaltation or inspiration.

For example, when we contemplate how someone gives up the seat on the bus (low level) or witness the story of a teacher who helps children at risk of exclusion (high level).

Help others

The interesting thing from the point of view of psychology regarding moral elevation is that, in general, whoever experiences it also usually feels the need to help other people, as in a chain of favors.

This is what Jerry Clore, Jonathan Haidt and Simone Schnall of the University of Virginia study, for example.

For example, after showing a group of people a video clip of the American television program Oprah Winfrey in which a person helps disadvantaged children from depressed neighborhoods, they compared their predisposition to fill in questioned questions with those who had not seen that clip.

The difference was small, but clear, like the same Schnall explains in the book The best decisions:

Almost all the participants sat down again and began to fill in the questionnaires, but the really amazing thing is that those of the condition of moral elevation stayed an average of 40 minutes because they felt motivated to help others. It was clear that the experimenter needed help and they agreed with pleasure. Those in the control condition also stayed, but only about 15 minutes on average. We have observed the same thing in different contexts and it is very encouraging that these concrete moral emotions drive people to help others.

Under this logic, then, to try to inspire people to contribute to humanitarian causes, then it seems more effective to make people think, above all, how good they will feel if they help others and how they can inspire others. to help others, and not so much appeal to reason.

Video: Concepts Unwrapped. Moral Emotions (February 2020).