Emotion emphasis effects in moral judgment are moderated by mindsets

Johannes T. Doerflinger, Peter M. Gollwitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In two studies, emotion emphasis effects on moral judgment are demonstrated. The studies indicate that emphasizing negative consequences in trolley-type dilemmas with emotional language produces more utilitarian responses if such emphasis is on the consequences of the deontological option, and more deontological responses if it is on the consequences of the utilitarian option. This effect was moderated by action-phase related mindsets. Individuals in an implemental mindset were less susceptible to the emotion emphasis effect than individuals in a deliberative mindset (Studies 1, 2). By also using an eye-tracking task in Study 2, we demonstrated that our implemental mindset participants’ visual attention was more focused—in particular on goal-directed means—than that of the deliberative mindset participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)880-896
Number of pages17
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Emotion emphasis
  • Mindset theory of action phases
  • Moral judgment
  • Trolley-type dilemmas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Emotion emphasis effects in moral judgment are moderated by mindsets'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this