ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (3): 540-548.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00540

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Why do people “sacrifice life for righteousness”? An explanation from the cognitive neural mechanism of protected values

YUE Tong1, HUANG Xiting1, FU Anguo2   

  1. 1Research Center for Psychology and Social Development, Southwest University; School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China;
    2School of Management, Hainan University; Hainan Institute of Corporate Governance, Haikou 570228, China
  • Received:2020-06-02 Online:2021-03-15 Published:2021-01-27

Abstract: Protected values are those which people refuse to trade for any other value, especially for economic value. The evidence of cognitive neuroscience research in recent years provides two reasons why people exhibit the behavior of “sacrificing life for righteousness” for protected values, such as defying their own interests or even giving up their life. This is because protected values are characterized and constructed by an absolute rule of deontology, which makes people less likely to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a trade; protected values are also closely related to the processes of self-identity and moral identity, and thus are subjectively endowed with the highest value. Further studies are needed to conduct empirical research on the core values of Chinese people based on the research paradigm of protective values, focus on its cultural differences, and carry out the corresponding practical research on intervention and guidance of correct values.

Key words: protected values, cognitive neural mechanism, deontological, utilitarian, backfire effect

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