Moral outrage is a very powerful emotion that
motivates us to shame and punish people who
have broken some social rule, who have harmedus or someone we care about in some way.
And there are many benefits of moral outrage,but there are also many costs.
So the benefits can fall into two broad categories.
The first category of benefit is social benefits.
So when we express outrage about some kindof wrongdoing, that teaches others that that
kind of behavior is not going to be tolerated,and it can motivate other people to behave
morally so that they can avoid getting shamedor punished for breaking the rules.
The other kind of benefit that moral outragebrings out is personal.
Moral outrage broadcasts to the rest of yoursocial group that you are the kind of person
who is not likely to break the rules.
So these two benefits of expressing outragehave to be balanced against the costs of outrage.
So expressing outrage carries some risks,particularly in the day to day world.
If you approach a stranger on the street—let’s say for littering—
there’s a chance they might retaliate against you.
There’s a chance that they could physicallyaggress against you.
We saw a really tragic case of
the huge possible costs of expressing
moral norms and trying to regulate bad behavior
earlier this year in Portland when a couple of people, really
非常勇敢的人 在波特兰的市郊往返列车上 试图制止
brave people lost their lives for trying torein in someone who was expressing racist
comments on a commuter train in Portland.
So it can be risky to express outrage.
可能会让人不安 让人紧张 当面告诉别人他们
It can be uncomfortable, stressful; tellingsomebody to their face that they’ve done
something wrong is just awkward sometimes.
So when we are expressing outrage we reallyhave to weigh these costs against the benefits.
And evolution has equipped us with a reallyfine-tuned calculus for making these kinds
of decisions in interpersonal and face toface interactions.
If moral outrage is a fire, the internet islike gasoline.
So when we think about the costs, of benefitsof expressing outrage, what social media does
is it turns down all the costs and dials upthe benefits.
So expressing outrage on social media is wayeasier than expressing it offline.
It’s less costly.
You can do it with the click of a button.
You can join a large crowd, so hiding amongsta lot of other people really takes down the
riskiness of expressing outrage towards aperson who has broken some norm.
And, of course, it dials up the benefits.
你会得到社交反馈 朋友的赞 转发 分享什么的
You’re getting social feedback, likes fromyour friends, retweets, shares.
And the audience, of course, is so much biggeron social media than it is offline.
So the reputational benefits of expressingoutrage are massively bigger when you take
So moral outrage is really interesting becauseof its reputational benefits.
And it can be contrasted with cyber bullyingfor example.
Both are aggressive kinds of behaviors, butthe one expresses that you are a morally good
person, and the other has rather the oppositeeffect.
So research on cyber bullying seems to suggestthat anonymity that’s often found online
There are fewer studies on this, but it seemslike
the opposite occurs in the case of moral outrage expression online.
So there’s one recent study that lookedat expressions of outrage in an online political
forum in Germany.
And in this study they looked at the effects—ofbeing anonymous versus identified—on how
aggressive the language was in these poststhat had to do with social policies.
And they actually found that people were expressingmore outrage about these moral political issues
when they were not anonymous.
So that seems to contrast with what is typicallyseen for cyber bullying.