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Are Attainable Exemplars More Effective at Promoting Students’ Moral Motivation?

Publication Authors: 
Hyemin Han, Changwoo Jeong, William Damon, and Geoffrey L. Cohen
Publication Year: 

Moral Development and Moral Education SIG Presentation:

The main purpose of the present study is to design a more effective methodology for moral education by utilizing stories of attainable and imitable moral exemplars. Because the mere presentation of moral exemplars can induce a backfire in the long term given social psychology, we aimed at designing a sophisticated intervention using exemplars based on the social psychological theory of attainability. To test the effects of attainable moral exemplars, we examined the improvement of voluntary service activity engagement after reading the stories of moral exemplars between attainable, unattainable exemplar, and control conditions. The experimental results showed that the longitudinal increase of activity engagement hours was significantly greater in the attainable group compared to unattainable and control groups.