Do-Gooder Derogation Disparaging Morally Motivated Minorities
This study examines how meat eaters react to vegetarians to gain an understanding of whether there is hostility toward “moral minorities.” Two studies were conducted to evaluate whether meat eaters attributed negative traits to vegetarians. In the first study, almost half (47%) did. Based on the second study, researchers concluded that negative judgements toward vegetarians were a reaction to meat eaters’ feeling that they were morally judged by vegetarians.
“Two studies document do-gooder derogation (the putting down of morally motivated others), by studying the reactions of meat eaters to vegetarians. In Study 1, 47% of participants freely associated negative terms with vegetarians and the valence of the words was negatively related to how much participants expected vegetarians to see themselves as morally superior to nonvegetarians. In Study 2, we manipulated the salience of anticipated moral reproach by varying whether participants reported these expectations before or after rating vegetarians.
“As predicted, participants rated vegetarians less positively after imagining their moral judgment of meat eaters. These studies empirically document the backlash reported by moral minorities and trace it back to resentment by the mainstream against feeling morally judged.”