Attainable and Relevant Moral Exemplars Are More Effective than Extraordinary Exemplars in Promoting Voluntary Service Engagement

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Date
2017
Journal Title
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Publisher
Frontiers
Abstract

The present study aimed to develop effective moral educational interventions based on social psychology by using stories of moral exemplars. We tested whether motivation to engage in voluntary service as a form of moral behavior was better promoted by attainable and relevant exemplars or by unattainable and irrelevant exemplars. First, experiment 1, conducted in a lab, showed that stories of attainable exemplars more effectively promoted voluntary service activity engagement among undergraduate students compared with stories of unattainable exemplars and non-moral stories. Second, experiment 2, a middle school classroom-level experiment with a quasi-experimental design, demonstrated that peer exemplars, who are perceived to be attainable and relevant to students, better promoted service engagement compared with historic figures in moral education classes.

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Keywords
moral exemplar, psychological interventions, moral education, prosocial motivation, attainability, relevance, service engagement, ETHICAL DECISION-MAKING, MODEL SIMILARITY, SELF, BEHAVIOR, POWER, PERSUASION, ELEVATION, IMITATION, STUDENTS, PEER, Psychology, Multidisciplinary
Citation
Han, H., Kim, J., Jeong, C., & Cohen, G. L. (2017). Attainable and Relevant Moral Exemplars Are More Effective than Extraordinary Exemplars in Promoting Voluntary Service Engagement. In Frontiers in Psychology (Vol. 8). Frontiers Media SA. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00283