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R Soc Open Sci ; 9(8): 220061, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2018417


The sense of owning a body (ownership) and controlling its actions (agency) are two main pillars of bodily self-consciousness (BSC). Although studies suggest that BSC signals and morality may be associated, whether such association has a positive or negative direction remains unclear. To investigate this issue, we conducted two pre-registered, online studies, in which a total of 1309 participants completed BSC- and morality-related questionnaires and undertook a task where they could cheat for monetary gain. We found that participants with high sense of ownership displayed high moral identity, which supports the notion that ownership is used to associate the self with positive characteristics. Moreover, high agency was associated with increased moral identity when sense of power is high. Results regarding deception are less clear, and might relate to the impact of COVID-19. Our results concerning moral identity may inspire policies that rely on changes of corporeal awareness to contrast immorality.

Clin Neuropsychiatry ; 18(4): 196-210, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1485784


OBJECTIVE: Deontological Guilt (DG), and Altruistic Guilt (AG) emerge from the appraisal of violating an internalized rule or an altruistic principle, respectively. DG is strictly connected with Disgust Sensitivity and plays a key role in the development and maintenance of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Previous studies investigated how DG affects responses to hypothetical moral dilemmas, however how DG and Disgust Sensitivity interact modulating moral behavior is still unknown. METHODS: STUDY 1. 46 healthy participants performed an ecological paradigm in which people can spontaneously decide to lie to obtain a reward (egoistic lie) or give it away (altruistic lie) after three emotional inductions: DG, AG or neutral. Furthermore, OCD traits, Morality, Guilt Propensity and Disgust Sensitivity were assessed by means of questionnaires. STUDY 2. 27 participants from the original sample were retested during the COVID-19 lockdown in Italy to ascertain whether the pandemic modified traits related to morality, disgust, guilt or OCD symptoms and whether these changes modulated moral behavior (measured by a task in which cheating was associated to higher pay-offs). RESULTS: STUDY 1. Compared to the neutral, after the DG induction participants produced less altruistic and more egoistic lies. This effect was stronger in participants with high Disgust Sensitivity. STUDY 2. During the COVID-19 lockdown participants became more sensitive to the Authority pillar of the Moral Foundations and more sensitive to Disgust: this increment in deontological morality affected (im) moral behavior depending on changes in Disgust Sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that people with high Disgust Sensitivity are more affected by deontological inductions which translate to higher immorality, supposedly by lowering their moral self-image. These results might have important clinical implications as they suggest that addressing Disgust Sensitivity in therapy, might also decrease the effect of guilt on patients' behavior.

PLoS One ; 16(8): e0255598, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1350168


Humans typically create and maintain social bonds through interactions that occur at close social distances. The interpersonal distance of at least 1 m recommended as a relevant measure for COVID-19 contagion containment requires a significant change in everyday behavior. In a web-based experimental study conducted during the first pandemic wave (mid-April 2020), we asked 242 participants to regulate their preferred distance towards confederates who did or did not wear protective masks and gloves and whose COVID-19 test results were positive, negative, or unknown. Information concerning dispositional factors (perceived vulnerability to disease, moral attitudes, and prosocial tendencies) and situational factors (perceived severity of the situation in the country, frequency of physical and virtual social contacts, and attitudes toward quarantine) that may modulate compliance with safety prescriptions was also acquired. A Bayesian analysis approach was adopted. Individual differences did not modulate interpersonal distance. We found strong evidence in favor of a reduction of interpersonal distance towards individuals wearing protective equipment and who tested negative to COVID-19. Importantly, shorter interpersonal distances were maintained towards confederates wearing protective gear, even when their COVID-19 test result was unknown or positive. This protective equipment-related regulation of interpersonal distance may reflect an underestimation of perceived vulnerability to infection; this perception must be discouraged when pursuing individual and collective health-safety measures.

COVID-19/pathology , Masks , Physical Distancing , Adolescent , Adult , Attitude , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Theoretical , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult