1 - 7 of 7 articles
category "Meaning Making"

Foetus or child? Language and attitudes toward abortion

Foetus or child? Language and attitudes toward abortion

Due to moral, religious and cultural sensibilities, the topic of abortion still gives rise to controversy in many countries. In this post, I will discuss our research showing how language used in abortion discourse can affect people’s attitudes by changing their attributions of humanity to unborn (Mikołajczak & Bilewicz, 2015). / more

Hot or cold morality? (Part 1)

Hot or cold morality? (Part 1)

How do we make moral judgments? Are people cold, calculating Vulcans? Or are they affectively hot hedonists? Researchers often present morality as a war between vying ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ processes, but in this two-part blog post I argue that the distinction is a false choice. Morality is both hot and cold, but not in the way previous research leads people to believe. / more

When having meaning in life helps – and why

When having meaning in life helps – and why

This blog examines the search for meaning in life and gives an explanation for why people seek meaning. Briefly, modern life (relative to our hunter-gatherer past) places people in an uncertain position, and meaning in life can give us a sense that difficulties in life will pay-off. / more

Blame. What is it good for?

Blame. What is it good for?

Is blame for retribution and revenge ? Or is blame for managing others’ behavior? I argue that while the former answer is dominant in social psychology, it predicts a dysfunctional system of blame that explains only a small portion of why people blame. Instead, I suggest that blame is better understood as a tool for changing the way people behave. / more

Only searching for a plane? What the disappearance of Flight MH 370 reveals about the human need for meaning and certainty

Only searching for a plane? What the disappearance of Flight MH 370 reveals about the human need for meaning and certainty

In this post, I describe how two core motives of human social behavior—the need for understanding and the need for control—shape people’s responses to disaster. Using the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 as an example, I describe how people seek to maintain meaning (related to understanding) and to re-establish certainty (related to control) after unforeseen disasters. / more

Free will without metaphysics

Free will without metaphysics

Despite the resurgence of interest in free will, there remains confusion and disagreement regarding free will’s role in social life, in particular, how people understand free will and whether free will guides blame and praise for others. In this blog post I argue that we need to pay closer attention to the folk concept of free will in order to resolve the confusion surrounding free will in everyday life. / more

CEO’s, morality, and minds: How good and bad guide our perceptions of others

CEO’s, morality, and minds: How good and bad guide our perceptions of others

Morality colors the way we view the world, but how it influences our judgments of others is a controversial debate. One popular view is that morality biases people’s perceptions of others—specifically others’ intentions. I suggest that this view is incorrect. Instead, valence, not morality, guides perception , and it does so in a way that may be adaptive. / more