Moral expansiveness around the world: the role of societal factors across 36 countries

Kelly Kirkland, Charlie R. Crimston, Jolanda Jetten, Maksim Rudnev, Cesar Acevedo-Triana, Catherine E. Amiot, Liisi Ausmees, Peter Baguma, Oumar Barry, Maja Becker, Michal Bilewicz, Watcharaporn Boonyasiriwat, Thomas Castelain, Giulio Costantini, Girts Dimdins, Agustín Espinosa, Gillian Finchilescu, Ronald Fischer, Malte Friese, Maria Cecilia Gastardo-ConacoÁngel Gómez, Roberto González, Nobuhiko Goto, Peter Halama, Gabriela M. Jiga-Boy, Peter Kuppens, Steve Loughnan, Marijana Markovik, Khairul A. Mastor, Neil McLatchie, Lindsay M. Novak, Blessing N. Onyekachi, Müjde Peker, Muhammad Rizwan, Mark Schaller, Eunkook M. Suh, Sanaz Talaifar, Eddie M. W. Tong, Ana Torres, Rhiannon N. Turner, Paul A. M. Van Lange, Christin-Melanie Vauclair, Alexander Vinogradov, Zhechen Wang, Victoria Wai Lan Yeung, Brock Bastian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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What are the things that we think matter morally, and how do societal factors influence this? To date, research has explored several individual-level and historical factors that influence the size of our ‘moral circles.' There has, however, been less attention focused on which societal factors play a role. We present the first multi-national exploration of moral expansiveness—that is, the size of people’s moral circles across countries. We found low generalized trust, greater perceptions of a breakdown in the social fabric of society, and greater perceived economic inequality were associated with smaller moral circles. Generalized trust also helped explain the effects of perceived inequality on lower levels of moral inclusiveness. Other inequality indicators (i.e., Gini coefficients) were, however, unrelated to moral expansiveness. These findings suggest that societal factors, especially those associated with generalized trust, may influence the size of our moral circles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)305-318
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number3
Early online date04 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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