A Social-Conceptual Map of Moral Criticism

John VoiklisBrown University
Corey CusimanoBrown University
Bertram MalleBrown University


Moral criticism is both a social act and the result of complex cognitive and conceptual processes. We demonstrate consensual features of various acts of moral criticism and locate them within a higher-order feature space. People showed consensus in judging 28 verbs of moral criticism on 10 features, and the judgment patterns formed a two-dimensional space, defined by an intensity axis and an interpersonal engagement axis. Subsets of verbs formed well-defined clusters roughly corresponding to the four quadrants of this space. The marker verbs of these clusters were lashing out (intense, public), pointing the finger (mild, public), vilifying (intense, private), and disapproving (mild, private).


A Social-Conceptual Map of Moral Criticism (673 KB)

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