The influence of sociocultural beliefs on adolescents’ moral and tolerance evaluations toward corruption: An interview with Cristhian A. Martínez

Adolescents’ sociocultural beliefs may be critical to their reasoning surrounding topics of morality, such as corruption. Cristhian Martínez’s recent article, The influence of sociocultural beliefs on adolescents’ moral and tolerance evaluations toward corruption, seeks to improve our understanding of adolescents’ socio-moral development to help illuminate the contexts in which adolescents are more or less tolerant in their evaluations of corruption.

Cristhian kindly sat down with us to answer a few questions about his article:

1. What is the main takeaway of your article?

We evidenced that adolescents evaluate corruption more positively when they are exposed to shared beliefs in their society about how corruption is widespread among citizens, how the social institutions are illegitimate, and how people engage in corruption to fulfill basic needs.

2. What questions does this paper address? Why were these questions important?

First, we wanted to examine if adolescents understand and regard corrupt behaviors (i.e., bribery and nepotism) as morally wrong. Second, we wanted to know if shared beliefs about how people and institutions behave corruptly in their society, made them change their minds turning their evaluations toward corruption into more positive.

These questions are important for at least three reasons. First, it brings forward the idea that adolescents as early as 11 years old understand what corruption is and judge it wrong. Second, it helps us to understand that even if adolescents judge corruption as morally wrong, there are sociocultural beliefs about the world they live in that made them hesitate about the wrongness they initially attribute to corruption, turning them more tolerant and positive about it. Finally, these questions help us identify some specific beliefs that increase acceptability and tolerance toward corruption that could inform early anti-corruption interventions in the younger generations to promote less corrupt societies.

3. What do you wish more people knew about this topic?

Seemingly complex political topics such as corruption are not exclusively adult matters, and understanding the early socio-moral development and reasoning about these topics is essential to put social, cultural, and political changes in a transgenerational perspective.

4. Are there any papers, videos, blog posts, etc. that you would recommend to readers who are interested in this topic?

For people interested in these topics I would broadly recommend the exciting research conducted by the Moral Development Lab at the University of Toronto headed by Professor Charles Helwig. They study how children of different ages think about political concepts such as democracy, human rights, and civil liberties.

5. What are you most excited to see in this field in the future? What questions are you particularly excited to get answers to?

More attention to the role of emotions and the influence of social factors (e.g., poverty, inequality, political turmoil) in the accounts of early socio-moral reasoning and political socialization.

 Author Bio:

Cristhian A. Martínez is a Ph.D. candidate at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His broad interest is to better understand how people respond to transgressions in the social and political spheres from their values and belief systems. He incorporates different insights and methods from social, political, and developmental psychology, as well as from emotion research.

Share this post:

Comments on "The influence of sociocultural beliefs on adolescents’ moral and tolerance evaluations toward corruption: An interview with Cristhian A. Martínez"

Comments 0-0 of 0

Please login to comment