Journal of Undergraduate Research


modern morality, moral foundations theory, dimensions


Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Political Science


Political psychologists Jonathan Haidt, Jesse Graham, and Brian Nosek argue in their influential study that morality is not a “one-dimensional spectrum” with individuals being moral or amoral.1 Rather, moral foundations theory allows people to be explained across five dimensions: harm/care, fairness/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity. Individuals place varying emphasis across the five dimensions, which they use in making judgements about a situation’s morality. Graham et al. find compelling evidence that conservatives and liberals have different approaches to life and politics due to varying moral foundations. Conservatives usually place equal emphasis across the five dimensions., while liberals tend to value the “individualizing” dimensions of harm/care and fairness/reciprocity more than the other three “binding” dimensions.