The Role of Cultural Narratives in Moral Decision Making

Abstract

Cultural narratives such as those mentioned in religious texts and folk stories are instrumental in teaching core cultural moral values. In this paper, we investigate the role of cultural narratives in understanding novel moral situations. We examine whether the processes by which core cultural narratives are applied in people‘s lives follow the principles of analogical retrieval and mapping. In particular, we examine how analogical accessibility influences the use of canonical moral narratives. We also show how access to different moral stories results in differences in moral preference across cultures. We report on the results of two experiments performed among Iranian and American participants. Our results indicate that analogical accessibility to cultural narratives that are similar in structure to a given dilemma is the differentiating factor in our participants‘ responses across the different variants and between the two cultural groups.


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