Group Opinion Polarization in Conditions of Moral Choice Uncertainty

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Abstract

There are a huge number of phenomena about which people might have stable opposing opinions. In social psychology, this is called group polarization. The most difficult here are the problems of moral choice, which do not have unambiguous solutions and often divide people in a group into two irreconcilable camps. Numerous studies in this direction are being conducted on the basis of the so-called “Kant-Constant paradox”. The presented experiment, according to the authors, confirms the hypothesis that in the process of making a decision in a group discussion, the subjects undergo a restructuring of value judgments not only at the level of consciousness, but also at the unconscious level. The results of the study were explained on the basis of V.M. Allakhverdov’s theory of consciousness, according to which rational judgments and decisions can be carried out not only consciously, but also unconsciously. The study was conducted in the form of an online discussion in 4 experimental groups. In total of 106 people took part in it. A list of specially selected Russian folk proverbs was used as a test material. It was found that after a discussion that requires a public statement of the respondent about his moral choice, there may be a significant shift in the assessments of his attitude to proverbs, both related to the task being performed and not directly related to it, which the participant of the experiment may not realize.

General Information

Keywords: group polarization of opinions, value polarization, moral choice, decision-making, consciousness, unconscious

Journal rubric: Social Psychology

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/exppsy.2022150212

Funding. This work was supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), grant № 21- 011-31400 «The phenomenon of value-psychological polarization of the population and the problem of stability-instability of Russian society».

Received: 30.07.2021

Accepted:

For citation: Lebedev A.N. Group Opinion Polarization in Conditions of Moral Choice Uncertainty. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2022. Vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 159–171. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2022150212. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Alexander N. Lebedev, Doctor of Psychology, leading researcher of the laboratory of personality, Institute of psychology RAS, Professor, Department of social psychology, Moscow Institute of psychoanalysis, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1030-9709, e-mail: lebedev-lubimov@yandex.ru

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