ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (4): 650-660.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00650

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The psychological mechanism and prevention strategy of slippery slope

OU Honglei1, SUN Binghai1,2, ZHANG Wenhai3, LI Weijian4()   

  1. 1 College of Teacher Education, Zhejiang Normal University
    2 Tin Ka Ping Moral Education Research Center, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China
    3 Mental Health Center, Yancheng Institute of Technology, Yancheng 224003, China
    4 Institute of Psychology, Zhejiang Normal University, Jinhua 321004, China
  • Received:2019-07-02 Online:2020-04-15 Published:2020-02-24
  • Contact: LI Weijian


The slippery slope effect refers to the degree of the individuals’ immorality to increase gradually over time, namely, the immoral behavior is repetitive and progressive. It widely exists in the behaviors of the individuals and interpersonal interaction, which will affect the normal social interaction between individuals, and even hinder the harmonious development of society. The research methods of the slippery slope effect include experimenter manipulation and spontaneous deception. There are at least three psychological mechanisms: moral disengagement, implicit biases, and self-dehumanization. The ways to intervene in this effect are promoting preventive orientation motivation and shaping positive descriptive social norms. Future studies should further explore the scope of the slippery slope effect and its neural intervention from the perspective of psychological processes and physiological mechanisms.

Key words: slippery slope, moral disengagement, implicit biases, self-dehumanization, prevention focus, descriptive norms

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