Morality is Under Study at UC Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) -- UC Riverside Professor of Sociology Jan E. Stets will use a $179,798 grant from the National Science Foundation for a two-year study of why people act morally, or immorally, and how it defines who they are as a person.

“The Moral Identity: Advancing Identity Control Theory” is a project that started Sept. 1 and will last until Sept. 1 of 2008.

“Morality is drawing increasing attention in our society given recent events such as sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and corporate scandals in the economic sector,” said Stets, the lead investigator. “This research examines how individuals make choices that maintain or threaten the very patterns of society that form the moral order.”

The research uses identity control theory to understand people's self-views, their feelings, and why they act as they do.

Possible applications include knowing the best prevention strategies, or incentives, to encourage human beings to more consistently choose the action that would benefit society.

Stets is Co-Director of the Social Psychology Research Laboratory (SPYRL) at UC Riverside.

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