When people vest a position with moral conviction, that is, a sense that the position is grounded in fundamental right or wrong, good or bad, they tend to be particularly intolerant of those who disagree. Psychological states that mitigate or augment the effect of moral conviction on tolerance are lesser known. The present research investigated the immediate consequences of mindfulness and mindlessness (cognitive depletion) on the relationship between moral conviction and preferred social distance. Consistent with hypotheses, moral conviction did not predict preferred social distance in a mindfulness condition (mindfulness meditation), predicted greater preferred social distance in a mindlessness condition (cognitive depletion), and predicted marginally greater preferred social distance in a control condition (no manipulation). Findings suggest that adopting a mindful orientation toward people with different moral views may foster acceptance, while adopting a mindless orientation may foster greater intolerance.
J. Baumgartner, G. S. Morgan