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The scale you completed was the "Moral Foundations Sacredness Scale," developed by Jesse Graham and Jonathan Haidt at the University of Virginia.

The scale is a measure of how much you value each of the five psychological foundations of morality that seem to be found across cultures: 1) Harm/care, 2) Fairness/reciprocity, 3) Ingroup/loyalty, 4) Authority/respect, and 5) Purity/sanctity. We asses your values indirectly here, by asking you how much money it would take for you to commit actions that violate each of these foundations. We are particularly interested in whether you say there is ANY amount of money that would persuade you to do each action.

The idea behind the scale is that different moral foundations may be sacred for some people and not for others. By "sacred" we mean that you would not for any amount of money violate the principles of that foundation. For instance, if ingroup loyalty were a sacred value to you then you would not betray (or perhaps even criticize publicly) your family, social groups or nation, even for a million dollars. In this scale we included a range of minor to severe violations, so it is likely that you did not choose the "never for any amount of money" option all that often. Odds are you have already taken the "Moral Foundations Questionnaire." Your answers on this survey -- about sacredness -- will let us see whether the same general patterns hold across different ways of measuring moral values. In particular, we want to test our prediction that issues related to harm and fairness are more sacred to liberals, whereas issues related to ingroup, authority, and purity are more sacred to conservatives.

The reason you may have rated cartoons beforehand is we are investigating the influence of humor on moral values. Some researchers have argued that humor has the ability to weaken our moral convictions. In this study we were interested in finding out whether this is the case.

The figures below show your average response for each foundation (in green) compared to those of the average Liberal (in blue) and the average Conservative (in red) website visitor. Because we can't treat "never, for any amount of money" as a dollar figure, we just scored your responses on an 8 point scale, where $0 is scored as "1" and "never for any amount of money" is scored as "8". Higher bars indicate that you care about that foundation more strongly.


To truly treat something as sacred means that you would not violate that value for any amount of money. The number of times you chose that response, for each foundation, is shown below (compared to the number of times that liberals and conservatives chose the "never" response.) Numbers here run from 0 (you never chose "never") to 5 (you chose "never" all 5 times, indicating that the foundation is as sacred as could be to you).

For the items in which you responded that you would do something for a certain monetary amount, your "price" is displayed below. (Of course, if you chose "never" one or more times for a foundation, then the price below is meaningless)

* It would take an average of $0 to get you to violate the HARM foundation.
* It would take an average of $0 to get you to violate the FAIRNESS foundation.
* It would take an average of $0 to get you to violate the INGROUP foundation.
* It would take an average of $0 to get you to violate the AUTHORITY foundation.
* It would take an average of $0 to get you to violate the PURITY foundation.

To learn more about Moral Foundations Theory, you can read this paper, the first one written on the topic: Haidt, J., & Joseph, C. (2004). Intuitive Ethics: How Innately Prepared Intuitions Generate Culturally Variable Virtues. Daedalus, pp. 55-66

To learn more about sacredness and how psychologists have studied it by asking people to make "taboo trade-offs," you can read this paper: Tetlock, P.E. (2003). Thinking about the unthinkable: Coping with secular encroachments on sacred values. Trends in Cognitive Science, 7, 320-324.

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