It is a natural human instinct to have opinions and vocalize them to each other. Beliefs can be wonderful things. They can help people find common ground which they can agree upon. Differences of opinion benefit people by creating hot topics where people can debate and concede each other’s points. Having an opinion can help a person learn a lot more about themselves and the subject matter.
For example, two people might agree on a hair product that they both love. One might like it because of the results, while the other loves it because it is endorsed by a celebrity they enjoy. These are differences in opinion, even though the original idea is the same. However, what exactly are moral opinions?
A moral compass is a common phrase that was most likely used by your parents during your childhood. “Always listen to that moral compass, it will lead you to what is right and wrong,” they said. To return to the example above, if a third person discussed the hair product, and they said they loved it because it did not test on animals, then that person likes it for moral reasons. This is considered a moral opinion, and psychologists describe it as a “moralized attitude.”
These strong opinions do three things: persist over time, resist persuasion, and guide behavior. A study was performed that showed that moralized beliefs stayed with the person and continued over time. Overall it showed that these opinions stuck around for much longer than other non-moralized views.
Moral opinions resist persuasion. Numerous studies have shown that when confronted with the possibility that one’s normalized opinion is threatened, individuals will stick to what they know and are comfortable with. That is how ingrained it is for some of us.
Guiding Actions and Behavior
Moralized opinions will also oversee the actions or behaviors of an individual. If you have a moralized idea about something, such as what good presidential policies are, you will vote for a candidate who satisfies those opinions.
This moralization checks the boxes for being a type of strong opinion. However, there are instances where people are more open-minded and will change their views based on what they deem suitable evidence. Because of this, they are not necessarily right or wrong. Sometimes those opinions are instinctual as well and help the individual in survival.
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