Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Agentic Regulation as a Function of Religious Prescriptive Principles in the Hierarchical Moral Strivings

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posted on 2022-04-04, 01:32 authored by Gjo, Nan

The Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) states that Sanctity/degradation has an evolutionary basis on the psychology of disgust, and is primarily intuitive. The Model of Moral Motives (MMM) posits that this Sanctity foundation is governed predominantly by proscriptive (avoidance-based) principles. Not much of research was done to examine the prescriptive (approach-based) aspect of moral sanctity/purity. The present research examines the role of agentic regulation, proposed as a central psychological process in religious goal strivings, in the construction of moral sanctity/purity. Two studies were conducted. A total of 469 participants from Myanmar communities were recruited. A quasi-experimental design, with three explicit primes randomly assigned to participants, was used to investigate the presence of this process in the first study. The second study explores three cultural domains (i.e., religiosity, sanctity/purity, and morality) using free-listing as a data collection technique. Some main effects of religious affiliation (i.e., Buddhism and Christianity) were observed. A similar pattern was observed in relation to religious internalization (i.e., identified and introjected religiosities). Results in the first study showed a few reliable effects with respect to the differences between Buddhists and Christians, and the relative differences between introjected and identified religiosities. A few reliable results from the first study, along with findings from the second study where some cultural items listed by respondents can be comprehensively explained by the integrative model proposed in the current research, contribute to the literature of the psychology of moral sanctity/purity and its relationship with religion from the approach-based agentic regulatory perspective.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Master of Science

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

Centre for Applied Cross-Cultural Research

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Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


McNamara, Rita