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Psychology lecture with Tage Rai, PhD
WhenWednesday, Jan 10, 2018, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Campus roomA114
Event typesLectures/Seminars
Event sponsorsDepartment of Psychology……

Tage Rai, PhD
Research Associate and Lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management

Rethinking the Relationship Between Morality and Violence
Most theories of aggression assume that violence is driven primarily by instrumental gain or impulsiveness, and that it is restrained by moral inhibitions. But an examination of violent acts and practices across cultures and throughout history shows just the opposite. When people hurt or kill someone, they usually do so because they feel a moral imperative to do so in spite of any reservations they may have against violence: they feel that their violence is morally right, obligatory, and praiseworthy, and this attitude is socially enforced. These moral motives to aggress have major implications for predicting and explaining patterns of violence. Across several experiments, Dr. Rai will show that humanizing victims, making violence materially costly, and elevating self-control all increase the likelihood of aggressive behavior when perpetrators are morally motivated - the exact opposite of what most theories of aggression predict. These data show that traditional theories of aggression are fundamentally incomplete, and that to understand violence we must begin by reconsidering why people ever want to hurt someone in the first place.

Tage Rai is a candidate for a faculty position in the Social and Personality area in the Department of Psychology. Faculty host: Sapna Cheryan:

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