The psychology of hate: Moral concerns differentiate hate from dislike

Clara Pretus, Jennifer L. Ray, Yael Granot, William A. Cunningham, Jay J. Van Bavel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigated whether any differences in the psychological conceptualization of hate and dislike were simply a matter of degree of negativity (i.e., hate falls on the end of the continuum of dislike) or also morality (i.e., hate is imbued with distinct moral components that distinguish it from dislike). In three lab studies in Canada and the United States, participants reported disliked and hated attitude objects and rated each on dimensions including valence, attitude strength, morality, and emotional content. Quantitative and qualitative measures revealed that hated attitude objects were more negative than disliked attitude objects and associated with moral beliefs and emotions, even after adjusting for differences in negativity. In Study 4, we analysed the rhetoric on real hate sites and complaint forums and found that the language used on prominent hate websites contained more words related to morality, but not negativity, relative to complaint forums.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-353
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • attitudes
  • dislike
  • emotions
  • hate
  • morality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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