#47: Moral Foundations & Political Opinion with Jesse Graham

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Jesse Graham studies human morality and what it means for our political opinions. He’s an Associate Professor of Management at the Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. As a graduate student with Jonathan Haidt, he helped develop Moral Foundations Theory (MFT), which has gone on to be a massively influential theory of morality and how it develops. One of Jesse’s key insights was that these moral foundations help explain the divides between liberal and conservative people, which has implications for all kinds of political opinions and pressing topics like political polarization.

In our conversation, Jesse fills us in on the early days of his research and the development of MFT over time, walks through the implications of MFT for political ideology, and reflects on where the theory is now.
Things that come up in this episode:

  • Divisions between liberal and conservatives: antipathy (Iyengar et al., 2019), geographic segregation (Motyl et al., 2014), avoiding each other’s opinions (Frimer, Skitka, & Motyl, 2017), and even shorter Thanksgiving dinners (Chen & Rohla, 2018; Frimer & Skitka, 2020)
  • Jonathan Haidt’s “Social Intuitionist Model” of morality (Haidt, 2001)
  • Moral Foundations Theory (Graham et al., 2013; for a useful overview, check out MoralFoundations.org)
  • Values beyond the moral (Schwartz, 1992)
  • How adult political leanings can be predicted from observations of them as kids (Block & Block, 2006)
  • Ideology and geographic preferences (Motyl et al., 2020)
  • Moral foundations and the basis of vaccine attitudes (Amin et al., 2017; Karimi-Malekabadi et al., 2021), needle exchange attitudes (Christie et al., 2019), and a variety of political attitudes including abortion (Koleva et al., 2012)

For a transcript of this episode, visit: http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/episode/moral-foundations-political-opinion-with-jesse-graham
Check out my new audio course on Knowable: "The Science of Persuasion."

Learn more about Opinion Science at http://opinionsciencepodcast.com/ and follow @OpinionSciPod on Twitter.

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