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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 4/2022

26-01-2021 | Original Paper

ERP Study of Liberals’ and Conservatives’ Moral Reasoning Processes: Evidence from South Korea

Authors: Jin Ho Yun, Yaeri Kim, Eun-Ju Lee

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 4/2022

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Abstract

Do liberals’ and conservatives’ brain processes differ in moral reasoning? This research explains these groups’ dissimilar moral stances when they face ethical transgressions in business. Research that explores the effects of ideological asymmetry on moral reasoning processes through moral foundations (i.e., fairness and authority) has been limited. We hypothesize two different moral reasoning processes and test them in the South Korean culture. Study 1 uses the neuroscientific method of event-related potentials (ERP) to explore the dissociable neural mechanisms that underlie Korean liberals’ and conservatives’ moral reasoning processes in business ethical transgressions. Liberals’ early frontal negative-going (EFN) brain waves showed that they are quick to pass negative judgment by intuitively detecting violations of fairness (i.e., moral engagement), while conservatives’ temporoparietal positive-going (TPP) brain waves showed that they have a higher motivation to respect authority (i.e., moral rationalization). Both liberals’ and conservatives’ ERP components occur within the first second of the decision-making phase, suggesting the rapid and intuitive nature of moral reasoning processes. Study 2 tests a mediating process and confirms that Korean liberals (conservatives) exhibit the moral engagement (rationalization) strategy, through the fairness (authority) foundation. These findings from our interdisciplinary research deepen the knowledge of the complexity of human morality in business ethics research.
Footnotes
1
While the term “moral rationalization” traditionally implies a class of moral reasoning strategies, we define it as a moral reasoning process by conservatives that arises because of intuitive responses to violations of authority. Such responses by both liberals and conservatives occur within the first second of decision-making.
 
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Metadata
Title
ERP Study of Liberals’ and Conservatives’ Moral Reasoning Processes: Evidence from South Korea
Authors
Jin Ho Yun
Yaeri Kim
Eun-Ju Lee
Publication date
26-01-2021
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 4/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04734-2

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