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I) Theory articles

A) Haidt & Joseph (2004) Intuitive Ethics: How Innately Prepared Intuitions Generate Culturally Variable Virtues. Daedalus, pp. 55-66. Request paper
--This was the very first article, proposing that there were four best candidates for being foundations of morality. A fifth -- ingroup -- was suggested as the next best candidate in a footnote. This article's main contribution is to explore the relationship between virtues and innateness.

B) Haidt, J., & Graham, J. (2007). When morality opposes justice: Conservatives have moral intuitions that liberals may not recognize. Social Justice Research, 20, 98-116. Request paper
--This is an academic article that should be accessible to a non-academic audience. It focuses on the difficulty that liberals and conservatives may have in understanding each other's morality.

C) Haidt, J., & Graham, J. (2009). Planet of the Durkheimians, Where Community, Authority, and Sacredness are Foundations of Morality. In J. Jost, A. C. Kay, & H. Thorisdottir (Eds.), Social and Psychological Bases of Ideology and System Justification. Request paper
--This article illustrates why ingroup, authority, and purity might be considered "moral" foundations. It shows how these concepts were at the heart of early sociological attempts to understand modernity and morality.

D) Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2007). The moral mind: How 5 sets of innate moral intuitions guide the development of many culture-specific virtues, and perhaps even modules. In P. Carruthers, S. Laurence, and S. Stich (Eds.) The Innate Mind, Vol. 3. Request paper
--This article goes into detail on the cognitive and evolutionary psychology of MFT. What does it mean to say that something is a "foundation" of morality?

E) Haidt, J., Graham, J., & Joseph, C. (2009). Above and below left-right: Ideological narratives and moral foundations. Psychological Inquiry, 20, p. 110-119. Request Paper

II) Empirical articles: Findings obtained with MFT [not updated since mid 2011]

A) Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Request paper
--This article presents support for our hypothesis about moral foundation differences across political ideology, using abstract assessments of moral relevance, concrete moral judgments, unwillingness to violate the foundations for money, and foundation-related word usage in the sermons of liberal and conservative churches. To see the supplemental document that goes with the article, describing confirmatory factor analyses, please click here.

B) Van Leeuwen, F., & Park, J. H. (in press). Perceptions of social dangers, moral foundations, and political orientation. Personality and Individual Differences.View paper

C) McAdams, D. P., Albaugh, M., Farber, E., Daniels, J., Logan, R. L., & Olson, B. (2008). Family metaphors and moral intuitions: How conservatives and liberals narrate their lives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: 95, 978-990. View paper

D) Graham, J., Nosek, B., & Haidt, J. (submitted). The Moral Stereotypes of Liberals and Conservatives: Exaggeration across the Political Divide (under review). Request Paper

E) Koleva, S. P., Graham, J., Ditto, P., Iyer, R., & Haidt, J. (2012). Tracing the threads: how five moral concerns (especially Purity) help explain culture war attitudes. Journal of Research in Personality, 46, 184-194. Request article . Request Paper

G) Iyer, R. (2009). Robustness of Liberal-Conservative Moral Foundations Questionnaire Differences. Blog posting at View Article
--This posting addresses the fact that our data is not at all representative of the USA, or any nation. As Kinsey did with his many non-representative samples of sex data, Iyer tests whether our main pattern of liberal-conservative differences is robust across samples based on the many sources -- liberal and conservative -- that sent people to

H) Hirsh, J. B., C. G. deYoung, et al. (in press). Compassionate Liberals and Polite Conservatives: Associations of Agreeableness With Political Ideology and Moral Values. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. View article

I) Iyer, R., Koleva, S. P., Graham, J., Ditto, P. H., & Haidt, J. (submitted). Understanding Libertarian morality: The psychological roots of an individualist ideology. (Under revision for JPSP) Request Paper
Or download the paper directly from Also, see this online supplement, with graphs from additional surveys that we could not fit into the main paper.

J) Cannon, P. R., S. Schnall, et al. (in press). "Transgressions and expressions: Affective facial muscle activity predicts moral judgments." Social Psychological and Personality Science.
--Finds that facial expressions, measured by EMG, predict moral judgments specific to moral foundations. E.g., levator labii (raises lip, as in disgust) specifically predicts harshness of judgments of purity violations. Supports the Social Intuitionist Model, and Moral Foundations Theory. [link to come]

K) Wiinegard, B., & Deaner, R. O. (2010). The Evolutionary Significance of Red Sox Nation: Sport Fandom as a Byproduct of Coalitional Psychology. Evolutionary Psychology, 8, 432-446. View Article.

L) Lewis, G. J., & Bates, T. C. (2011). From left to right: How the personality system allows basic traits to influence politics via characteristic moral adaptation. British Journal of Psychology. View article.
--finds that the small correlations typically found between Big 5 personality traits and ideology (liberal to conservative) become much bigger when you put moral foundations in between the two constructs. In other words, basic personality influences poeple's moral attitudes, and those attitudes then dispose people to identify as liberal or conservative.

M) Graham, J., Nosek, B. A., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., Koleva, S., & Ditto, P. H. (2011). Mapping the moral domain. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 366-385. Request paper

N) Winterich, Zhang, & Mittal (2012) How Political Identity and Charity Positioning Increase Donations: Insights from Moral Foundations Theory. Unpublished, but available at


III) Blogs and popular press:

--See the Blog

--Here is an article by Nicholas Wade that ran on the front page of the Science section of the New York Times (2007).

--Here is a superb essay by Will Wilkinson applying Moral Foundations Theory to the perennial problems of the Democratic party.

--Blog post by Michael Shermer, on Scientific American, on the psychological basis of political stereotypes (Dec. 2009)

--Article in El Pais, by Luis Arroyo, using MFT to explain "What happened to the progressive soul?" (Dec. 2010)


IV) Videos:

A. Here is an 18 minute talk that Jonathan Haidt gave at the TED conference in 2008, encouraging liberals and conservatives to “take the red pill,” and escape from the “matrix” of moralism in order to understand the real moral motives of both sides.

B. The Taste Analogy in Moral Psychology; Talk given by Jonathan Haidt at “The New Science of Morality,” An Edge Seminar, Washington CT, July 21, 2010.

C. The Psychological Foundations of the American Culture War (or, how “liberal” became a dirty word). Aspen Ideas Festival, June 2011.



(Last updated Aug 12, 2011
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