Psychologists Laura Niemi (Harvard) and Liane Young (Boston College) write about the fact that some people feel sympathy for a victim (“it’s horrible you were raped in the park last night”) and some feel scorn (“what were you doing in the park alone at night?”).
They note that it may depend on many factors, but in their several studies of nearly 1,000 subjects, they have concluded that sympathy or scorn is likely to be guided by which set of moral values are brought to bear. Some peoples’ moral values feature loyalty, obedience and purity, what the authors call “binding values.” Other people feature values such as care and fairness, which they call “individualizing values.” Of course, most people have moral values from both sets, but that you can learn about people by understanding which set a person favors
Can you use this information in your conflict resolution work? Can you change your preferences in the middle of your ADR work in order to match the systems being used by the parties within the resolution process
Incidentally, the authors say in the Times that psychologists have previously found that people with individualizing values tend to be politically progressive and people with binding values tend to be politically conservative.
The Times piece:
The authors’ article in the “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin” that was summarized in the Times: