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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.

Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(16)2022 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1987806


Implementation of COVID-19 protective behaviours, such as social distancing or frequent hand washing during the lockdown, was critical to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this cross-sectional study, we examined the effect of positivity and parochial altruism on implementing COVID-19 health-protective behaviours during the Italian lockdown. A sample of 460 participants completed an online questionnaire that included demographic measures, Positivity Scale and COVID-19 measures of health-protective behaviours. To measure parochial altruism, we used a hypothetical dictator game played with others who could vary in their social distance from the participants. Results showed that participants in the hypothetical game gave more money to parents and siblings than to best friends, cousins, neighbours, and strangers. Furthermore, both positivity and parochial altruism (more altruism toward close vs. distant people) were positively associated with implementing hygiene behaviours but not with social distancing. Finally, mediation analysis showed that increases in parochial altruism mediated the effect of positivity on hygiene behaviour. These findings extend knowledge about the factors beyond the implementation of COVID-19 health-protective behaviours during a lockdown situation.

COVID-19 , Altruism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control
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.