Although researchers have shown how the need to reduce internal discrepancies between one’s current level of morality and one’s moral standard and the need to reduce negative social judgment drive pro-social behaviors, it remains unclear if the presence of both these motivations has additive effects on pro-social behaviors. I propose that the answer is no: people operate on a sufficient motivation principle when deciding to behave prosocially, that is, they should be equally prosocial whether one or both motivations are present. I further argue that individual differences in public (PUSC) and private (PRSC) self-consciousness affect people’s attention to the two types of motivations. High PUSC people are concerned about what others think of them. So, when social judgment is present, they should be equally prosocial regardless of internal discrepancies. High PRSC people are aware of their internal attitudes and moral standards. So, whether social judgment is present, they should be more prosocial in the presence than absence of internal discrepancies. To test these hypotheses, the presence of internal discrepancies and social judgment was manipulated and their effects on money allocation in a Dictator Game examined. Results did not support the sufficient motivation principle. However, a PUSC x Internal Discrepancies x Social Judgment interaction was observed. Contrary to predictions, high PUSC people were not uniformly prosocial in the presence of social judgment. Instead, they were less prosocial in the presence than absence of internal discrepancies. These findings suggest that mechanisms other than those hypothesized may have influenced people’s prosocial behavior. Although the sufficient motivation principle and the expected moderating effects of PUSC and PRSC were not supported, this could be due to the many limitations of the study. Future studies should take these limitations into account to provide a more conclusive finding.
pro-social behavior, social judgment, moral compensation, private self-consciousness, public self-consciousness
Master of Science in Psychology
Cognition and Perception | Social Psychology
LEE, Huey Woon.
The Motivation to Comply with Internal or External Moral Expectations: Is Just One Motivation Enough?. (2014). Dissertations and Theses Collection (Open Access).
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/etd_coll/110