The Social Psychology of Morality (Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology)

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9781138929067: The Social Psychology of Morality (Sydney Symposium of Social Psychology)

Ever since Plato’s ‘Republic’ was written over two thousand years ago, one of the main concerns of social philosophy and later empirical social science was to understand the moral nature of human beings. The faculty to think and act in terms of overarching moral values is as much a defining hallmark of our species as is our intelligence, so homo moralis is no less an appropriate term to describe humans as homo sapiens.

This volume makes a case for the pivotal role of social psychology as the core discipline for studying morality. The book is divided into four parts. First, the role of social psychological processes in moral values and judgments is discussed, followed by an analysis of the role of morality in interpersonal processes. The sometimes paradoxical, ironic effects of moral beliefs are described next, and in the final section the role of morality in collective and group behavior is considered.

This book will be of interest to students and researchers in the social and behavioral sciences concerned with moral behavior, as well as professionals and practitioners in clinical, counseling, organizational, marketing and educational psychology where issues of ethics and morality are of importance.

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About the Author:

Joseph P. Forgas is Scientia Professor of Psychology at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He received his D.Phil. degree from the University of Oxford and a D.Sc degree, also from Oxford. His research investigates affective influences on social cognition, motivation, and behavior. He has published 26 books and over 200 journal articles and book chapters. In recognition of his scientific contribution, he received the Order of Australia in 2012, as well as the APS’s Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, the Humboldt Research Prize, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. Forgas is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

Lee Jussim is professor of psychology at Rutgers University, where he was chair from 2010-2013. He is the author of over 100 articles and chapters, and several books, including Social Perception and Social Reality: Why Accuracy Dominates Bias and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, which received the 2013 AAP Prose Award for best book in psychology. His contribution to The Social Psychology of Morality was completed while he was a Fellow and Consulting Scholar at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. His current work focuses primarily on scientific integrity and best practices in science.

Paul A. M. Van Lange is professor of social psychology and chair of the Section of Social and Organizational Psychology at the VU University in Amsterdam, Holland, and Distinguished Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. His research focuses on human cooperation and trust grounded in evolutionary theorizing, particularly the functions of forgiveness, generosity, empathy, fairness, morality, retaliation, and competition. He is a recipient of the Kurt Lewin Medal and has published around 150 articles and several books, including the Atlas of Interpersonal Situations, the Handbook of Theories of Social Psychology, Power, Politics, and Paranoia, and Social Dilemmas. Van Lange was associate editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and Psychological Science, is founding editor of a series on human cooperation (published by Oxford University Press), editor-in-chief of Current Opinion in Psychology, and has served as director of the Kurt Lewin Institute (KLI) and as president of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP).

Review:

After languishing for decades, the study of morality has recently prospered by means of an explosion of creative new research directions and insights. This timely and fascinating book offers a marvelous overview of many diverse contributions and perspectives, written by many of the cutting-edge researchers who helped create the explosive leap forward. Delving into the root causes of both remarkable virtue and despicable misbehavior, as well as the processes by which people form and express moral judgments, this book is a tour de force that will reward anyone interested in this key aspect of human social life, from the novice seeking an introduction to the expert wanting to know the latest findings.

Roy F. Baumeister, author of Willpower: Rediscovering the greatest human strength and Evil: Inside human violence and cruelty

There is nothing more central to what it means to be human than our moral (and immoral) behavior. Thus, understanding when and why humans do and do not behave morally is a key mission of the social sciences in general and social psychology in particular. This volume is a testament to how much progress we have made in our understanding of this critical issue. The contributing authors are the leaders in this field and together they have created a book that is a must-read for all psychologists and social scientists who want to catch up on the current science on this issue.

E. Tory Higgins, Stanley Schachter Professor of Psychology and Professor of Business, Director, Motivation Science Center, Columbia University

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