Publication details

Synchrony and Moral Hypocrisy (poster)



Year of publication 2018
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description Intergroup aggression (e.g., political demonstrations or sports fan violence) often involves some degree of interpersonal motoric or vocal synchrony, namely choral chanting of slogans, choir singing of pre-learned songs, choral motor gestures or choral rhythmic jumping. At the same time, these activities exhibit the features of rigidity, repetition and redundancy, which we usually use as defining observable signs of religious or secular ritual behavior. On the one hand, it is obvious that not all participants take direct violent action. On the other hand, they do little to stop these acts. One explanation could be that those people are afraid of their own harm, whether physical injury or loss of social capital. However, it is possible that this is not the whole story. Previous studies suggested that synchrony is one of the factors facilitating aggression by increasing the tendency of people to help their synchrony partners, even in case of aggressive behavior. However, the effects of synchronization on the perception and judgement of such behavior remain to be explored. We suggest that moral hypocrisy of the spectators (i.e., tendency to judge the same transgression less harshly when committed by myself than by others), resulting from being in synchrony with the perpetrators, contributes to the explanation of their inaction and as such constitutes a main component of the group behavior that we need to fully understand. We designed an experimental study using the social intuitionist model of moral judgement which sees moral judgement as largely based on intuition and social environment. Building on previous research which suggests that people judge the same moral transgression as less immoral when the offender is an in-group member, we predicted that participants will judge transgression of their synchrony partners less harshly than participants in asynchrony and control conditions.
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