Maturity is explicit: Self-importance of traits in humanitarian moral identity

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Maturity is explicit: Self-importance of traits in humanitarian moral identity

Development of humanitarian moral identity may correspond with the growing self-importance of moral traits.  This study considered the extent to which moral traits become explicit in novice and expert humanitarian moral identity narratives. Eighty humanitarian caregivers from L’Arche communities were given self-understanding interview prompts to assess temporal (i.e. past present and future) and relational expectations. Humanitarian responses were compared to four paragraphs comprised of moral traits (i.e. just brave caring and religious) using a computational knowledge representation model known as latent semantic analysis (Landauer T. McNamara D. Dennis S. & Kintsch W. (Eds.). (2007). Handbook of latent semantic analysis (University of Colorado Institute of Cognitive Science). Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum). Consistent with predictions humanitarian experts displayed more explicitly self-important moral traits than novices on future and romantic partner expectations. Findings suggest that humanitarian development is associated with simulation related to future goal achievement and moral action modeled by close intimates.

Citation: 
The Journal of Positive Psychology Vol. 7, No. 1, January 2012, 36–44

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