Recent findings suggest that moral outrage signals trustworthiness to others, and such perceptions play a uniquely important role in identifying social opportunities. We conducted four studies (N = 870) investigating how displays of moral outrage are perceived in the specific context of mating. Results indicated participants, particularly women, found prospective mates describing outrage-signaling activism to be more desirable for long-term mating (Study 1), and this perception of desirability was similarly inferred among same-sex raters (Study 2). We further replicated findings in Study 1, while additionally considering the basis of women’s attraction toward outraged behavior through candidate mediators (Studies 3). Although we found consistent evidence for the desirability of an ostensibly outraged target, Study 4 finally identified a boundary condition on the desirability of outrage, wherein mere expression of outrage (without activism) was insufficient to bolster attraction. We frame results from complementary perspectives of trust signaling and sexual strategies theory. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)
Keefer, L. A.,
Sacco, D. F.,
Brown, F. L.
(2022). Demonstrate Values: Behavioral Displays of Moral Outrage As a Cue To Long-Term Mate Potential. Emotion, 22(6), 1239-1254.
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