Magnificent Moral Beauty: The Trait of Engagement with Moral Beauty

  • Rhett DiessnerEmail author


Traits are patterns of behavior, and the trait of engaging with moral beauty involves noticing the patterns of behavior that symbolize the moral beauty of the virtues; these patterns may be characterized as unity-in-diversity. Elevation is the emotion experienced when engaging with moral beauty; when experiencing elevation one desires to become a better person and is more likely to commit prosocial acts. Elevation, in experimentally designed studies, has been shown to cause volunteering; charitable donations; better mentoring; intentions to register as organ donor; increased cooperative behavior; reduction in prejudice against race or sexual orientation; increased belief in life as meaningful and in the benevolence of others; increase positive affect and prosociality (affiliation and compassionate goals) and decrease self-image goals; and increase in interest in the Paralympics, and a positive effect on the destigmatization of persons with disabilities in general. Longitudinal research has shown that experiences of elevation led to a decrease in anxiety and depression and improved interpersonal functioning in a clinical population. Moral beauty may be related to spiritual beauty. Will moral beauty save the world? Moral beauty level is unrelated to political persuasion (conservatives are just as likely to notice the moral beauty of others as are liberals).

Supplementary material


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lewis-Clark State CollegeLewistonUSA

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