1 March 2011
Psych 178 – Lecture 16
The Person as a Judge
Motivation involves much social interaction. Evolutionary biologists often state that groups survive better than
individuals so our personal relationships are important.
• Meeting with Jane. I am there at 7pm but she doesn’t get there until 8:30pm. She says that she was late
because she was watching the Oscars. I then tell her the relationship is over. I judge her as engaging in a
social transgression. She should have been on time.
• Then she says no, you misunderstood me. I was going to tell you that I would be late because the bus
could not go because the road was being paved. I tried to call you but your phone was off. Then I say she
• You are a teacher in a class. There are eight conditions representing the eight students in your class. They
just took an exam. You evaluate them from +5 to –5.
o Condition 1 – high ability, high effort, success = 4.5
o Condition 2 – high ability, high effort, failure = 2.0
o Condition 3 – high ability, low effort, success = 2.6
o Condition 4 – high ability, low effort, failure = -4
o Condition 5 – low ability, high effort, success = 4.8
o Condition 6 – low ability, high effort, failure = 2.3
o Condition 7 – low ability, low effort, success = 0
o Condition 8 – low ability, low effort, failure = -2.5
• The moral failure is the one who has the ability but did not try enough and therefore failed.
• The moral hero is the low ability, high effort person who succeeded.
Success/Failu High/low High/low
re (outcome) effort ability
13 9 3
2 23 9
8 24 6
14 14 -4
16 20 -2
10 20 0
23 17 -1
What determines culpability
• Outcome – if there is no negative outcome, there is no sentence. This is one determinant of justice
• Effort or intentionality makes a difference – the first man did it by accident, so it is just manslaughter. It is
considered homicide if there was intent.
• In terms of other evaluation, ability dies out. This is because there are two levels of ability that define moral
achievement. • You do not want to be perceived as the high ability, low effort person because you will be punished most
harshly. Therefore, you need to manipulate how other people think about you.
o Outcome – fail an exam
Deny (say no) but this is a primitive impression management technique.
You can say yes. Then is it due to you or not you. You want to impress that it was not you.
Give an excuse, if you can. This puts you out of the causal chain. So yes, I failed but it was
not my fau