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Is moral elevation an approach-oriented emotion?

Van de Vyver, J.; Abrams, D.

Is moral elevation an approach-oriented emotion? Thumbnail


D. Abrams


Two studies were designed to test whether moral elevation should be conceptualized as an approach-oriented emotion. The studies examined the relationship between moral elevation and the behavioral activation and inhibition systems. Study 1 (N = 80) showed that individual differences in moral elevation were associated with individual differences in behavioral activation but not inhibition. Study 2 (N = 78) showed that an elevation-inducing video promoted equally high levels of approach orientation as an anger-inducing video and significantly higher levels of approach orientation than a control video. Furthermore, the elevation-inducing stimulus (vs. the control condition) significantly promoted prosocial motivation and this effect was sequentially mediated by feelings of moral elevation followed by an approach-oriented state. Overall the results show unambiguous support for the proposal that moral elevation is an approach-oriented emotion. Applied and theoretical implications are discussed.


Van de Vyver, J., & Abrams, D. (2016). Is moral elevation an approach-oriented emotion?. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 12(2), 178-185.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 13, 2016
Online Publication Date May 17, 2016
Publication Date May 17, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 6, 2018
Publicly Available Date Sep 7, 2018
Journal Journal of Positive Psychology
Print ISSN 1743-9760
Electronic ISSN 1743-9779
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 2
Pages 178-185
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Copyright Statement
© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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