ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (7): 1253-1263.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2018.01253

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Moral elevation: A positive moral emotion associated with elevating moral sentiment

HUANG Xi1, LIANG Hong-Yu1, LI Fang1,2, CHEN Shi-Min3, WANG Wei-Xin1, LIN Miao-Lian1,4, ZHENG Xue1()   

  1. 1 School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    2 School of Teacher Education and Psychology, Sichuan Normal University, Chengdu 610068, China
    3 School of Public Administration, China University of Mining and Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China
    4 Hangzhou Yinhu Elementary School, Hangzhou 311422, China
  • Received:2017-09-01 Online:2018-07-15 Published:2018-05-29
  • Contact: ZHENG Xue


Moral elevation refers to a positive moral emotion response to a situation that, when witnessing other’s moral behavior, people appreciates other’s virtue and feels moral sentiment elevated. Moral elevation has affective, physical, cognitive, and behavioral aspects. Moral elevation can be induced by materials and situations, and be measured by identifier words and scales. The formation of moral elevation needs two key mechanisms, including positive inner attribution and positive upward social comparison, and these mechanisms can be affected by the characteristics of other’s moral behavior and the observer’s characteristics. Moral elevation triggers activation of the cranial and autonomic nerve as well as endocrine reactivity. Psychological effects of moral elevation include promoting pro-social behavior and positive social cognition, and enhancing positive impact to oneself. Future researches of moral elevation should investigate its physiological mechanisms, explore its broaden-and-build effects, examine diverse cultural and indigenous populations, and consider applications to moral education.

Key words: moral elevation, moral sentiment, positive emotion, moral emotion

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