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Using shared group experiences and moral appeals to communicate mistakes and sustain moral goal motivation

Sustaining moral behaviour can be challenging, even if individuals or groups have already set moral goals and initiated the change. Obstacles and difficulties are common, and accompanied by negative emotions that individuals and groups must navigate. Therefore, this project focuses on investigating strategies to promote the sustainability of moral goal motivation. We will explore ways to make group communication about moral responsibilities manageable. This includes developing effective approaches that enhance positive thoughts and emotions when dealing with moral mistakes or when providing and/or receiving feedback on moral responsibilities.

In this project, we are specifically interested in whether
shared group experiences or humorous moral appeals can help people cope with moral challenges. By fostering an inspiring and positive atmosphere, these activities may support individuals in maintaining their engagement with both personal and group responsibilities, without feeling overburdened by the weight of the moral context. We envision, for example, that group activities may help people to relax in the context of moral challenges, show vulnerability, and thereby open up to moral criticism enabling them to forgive themselves and others for mistakes, and taking positive risks to grow.

The studies will provide new and exciting insights into the underlying psychological processes and may help people create shared positive experiences or uplifting comments in everyday life and in organizations to motivate themselves and others for moral purposes in a positive and sustainable way.



Other involved researchers


This study is part of the Sustainable Cooperation - Roadmaps to Resilient Societies research programme (SCOOP). The SCOOP programme was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) in the context of its 2017 Gravity Programme.