Moral rationalization and the integration of situational factors and psychological processes in immoral behavior

Contribution: 
Research article
Keywords: 
deception
rationalization
psychology
immoral actions
cognitive dissonance
self-dissonance
Reference: 
Tsang, J.-A. (2002). Moral rationalization and the integration of situational factors and psychological processes in immoral behavior. Review of General Psychology 6(1): 25-50.
Attachment: 
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Summary / Abstract: 

Link to full text from the Author's site. Abstract. Moral rationalization is an individual's ability to reinterpret his or her immoral actions as, in fact, moral. It arises out of a conflict of motivations and a need to see the self as moral. This article presents a model of evil behavior demonstrating how situational factors that obscure moral relevance can interact with moral rationalization and lead to a violation of moral principles. Concepts such as cognitive dissonance and self-affirmation are used to explain the processes underlying moral rationalization, and different possible methods of moral rationalization are described. Also, research on moral rationalization and its prevention is reviewed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

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