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Moral Foundations and Attitudes Towards the Poor

An Erratum to this article was published on 22 March 2017


Why does the public have such polarizing views on the poor? This paper attempts to understand this issue by examining and exploring what predicts attitudes towards the poor. The exploration of this issue begins with a reference to the Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) and how this particular framework has been used to explain polarizing issues such as abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research, among others. This paper argues that the MFT can provide a similar insight on attitudes towards the poor. With the MFT as a backdrop, the current study tested out the hypothesis using hierarchical multiple regression and explored the results further by using dominance analysis. Results showed that the Moral Foundations were good predictors of attitudes towards the poor. While Harm emerged as the only significant predictor, dominance analysis revealed the importance of each foundation as predictors. Harm is the strongest predictor followed by Fairness, Authority, Ingroup, and Purity. All five foundations appear to be better predictors as compared to one’s political affiliation.

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Correspondence to Michelle Low.

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Low, M., Wui, M.G.L. Moral Foundations and Attitudes Towards the Poor. Curr Psychol 35, 650–656 (2016).

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  • Moral foundations theory
  • Attitudes towards the poor
  • Political affiliation