Past Action and Ethical Orientation

with Alexandra Thiel, Angela Kurth, Kallie Renfus
  • Darcia Narvaez


Triune ethics meta-theory (TEM) identifies ethical orientations that emerge from global brain states rooted in human brain evolution: protectionism, engagement, and imagination. In this chapter, we describe empirical work collected regarding self-reported action related to triune ethics orientations (TEO). We developed and validated a past action report (PAR) in two studies using the triune ethics framework and sets of measures to examine convergent, divergent, predictive validity as well as life experience predictors. The two subtypes of self-protectionism represent neurobiological externalizing (aggressive and domineering) or internalizing (withdrawal and numbness) reactions. We examined these as well as their imagination counterparts: detached, vicious. We also examined engagement and communal imagination. Those who reported favoring particular ethical orientations were also more likely to report behaving in a manner to match that orientation.


  1. Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2009). The HEXACO-60: A short measure of the major dimensions of personality. The Journal of Personality Assessment, 91(4), 340–345.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartholomew, K., & Horowitz, L. M. (1991). Attachment styles among young adults: A test of a four-category model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(2), 226–244.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Brooks, J. (2011). Helping the less fortunate: The interaction between cultural and economic conservatism. Unpublished master’s thesis, University of Notre Dame.Google Scholar
  4. Bryant, F. B., & Smith, B. D. (2001). Refining the architecture of aggression: A measurement model for the Buss-Perry aggression questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality, 35, 138–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Cattell, R. B. (1956). Validation and intensification of the sixteen personality factor questionnaire. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 12, 205–214.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Davis, M. H. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy; Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44(1), 113–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hayes, A. F., & Scharkow, M. (2013). The relative trustworthiness of inferential tests of the indirect effect in statistical mediation analysis: does method really matter? Psychological Science, 24(10), 1918–1927. doi: 10.1177/0956797613480187. Epub 2013 Aug 16.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Hoffman, J. M., West, S. G., & Sheets, V. (2002). A comparison of methods to test mediation and other intervening variable effects. Psychological Methods, 7(1), 83–104.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. MacKinnon, D. P., & Luecken, L. J. (2008). How and for whom? Mediation and moderation in health psychology. Health Psychology, 27(Suppl 2), S99–S100. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.27.2(Suppl.).S99.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Narvaez, D., Wang, L, & Cheng, Y. (2015). Evolved developmental niche history: The effects of early experience on psychopathology and morality. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  11. Patrick, C. J., Curtin, J. J., & Tellegen, A. (2002). Development and validation of a brief form of the multidimensional personality questionnaire. Psychological Assessment, 14(2), 150–163.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Paulhus, D. L. (1998). Paulhus deception scales: User’s manual. North Tanawanda, NY: Multi-Healthy Systems, Inc.Google Scholar
  13. Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association/Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Pratto, F., Sidanius, J., Stallworth, L. M., & Malle, B. F. (1994). Social dominance orientation: A personality variable predicting social and political attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(4), 741–763. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.67.4.741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rodrigues, S. M.,Saslow, L. R.,Garcia, N., John, O. P., & Keltner, D. (2009). Oxytocin receptor genetic variation relates to empathy and stress reactivity in humans. PNAS, 106(50), 21437–21441.Google Scholar
  16. Schlenker, B. R., Weigold, M. F., & Schlenker, K. A. (2008). What makes a hero? The impact of integrity on admiration and interpersonal judgment. Journal of Personality, 76(2), 323–356.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Scholtz, W., Yim, I. S., Zoccola, P. M., Jansen, L., & Schulz, P. (2011). The perceived stress reactivity scale: Meaurement invariance, stability, and validity in three countries. Psychological Assessment, 23(1), 80–94.Google Scholar
  18. Tellegen, A. (1982). Brief manual for the multidimensional personality questionnaire. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  19. Van Lange, P. A., DeBruin, E. M. N., Otten, W., & Joireman, J. A. (1997). Development of prosocial, individualistic, and competitive orientations: Theory and preliminary evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73(4), 733–746.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darcia Narvaez
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

Personalised recommendations