September 10, 2020 4:39 PM Subscribe
How common is moral grandstanding? There is ample empirical evidence to show that people really are often motivated to use moral talk to impress others. Social scientists have found that we tend to judge ourselves as superior to others in a host of areas: intelligence, friendliness and ambition, for example....
But when it comes to morality, our willingness to rate ourselves as being superior is even more pronounced. Recent research shows that many of us regard ourselves as morally superior: we think we care more about justice, or empathise more deeply with victims of wrongdoing, or have greater moral insight than the average person. In terms of morality, we tend to give ourselves pretty good reviews.
Not only do we think this about ourselves, but recent psychological research suggests that we want others to think this about us, too. It’s not enough to think highly of ourselves; we want others to be impressed with our moral credentials as well. And so we grandstand.