Moral transformation is the hypothesis that doing good or evil increases agency—the capacity for self-control, tenacity, and personal strength. Three experiments provide support for this hypothesis, finding that those who do good or evil become physically more powerful. In Experiment 1, people hold a 5 lb. weight longer after donating to charity. In Experiment 2, people hold a weight longer when writing about themselves helping or harming another. In Experiment 3, people hold a hand grip longer after donating to charity. The transformative power of good and evil is not accounted for by affect. Moral transformation is explained as the embodiment of moral typecasting, the tendency to “typecast” good- and evildoers as more capable of agency and less sensitive to experience. This has implications for power, aging, self-control, and recovery.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Doing good (or evil) increases physical strength
Kurt Gray offers some interesting observations on the embodyment of moral typecasting: