Moral refusers versus competent refusers: the negative effects on refuser evaluations and self-evaluations
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In this research we aimed to disentangle the effect of threats to two important areas of the self-concept, which are morality and competence. Furthermore, we examined the influence of individual differences in social comparison orientation in the development of reactions after experiencing these threats. In two experiments participants first performed a certain task and afterwards they were confronted with another participant who refused to do the task because of moral, competent or non-moral reasons. The results of the first experiment demonstrated that, contrary our expectations, participants liked a competent refuser and a non-moral refuser less than a moral refuser. However, participants found a moral refuser more agentic than a competent refuser. In addition, the results showed that when participants agreed to a greater extent with the task they had to do, they showed more dislike for the refuser and they evaluated themselves more positively. The results of the second experiment demonstrated that, in line with our expectations, participants who were confronted with a competent refuser showed less prosocial intentions than participants who were confronted with a moral refuser or non-moral refuser. Unfortunately, the expected results related to the self-evaluation of participants and the role of social comparison orientation in the development of reactions were not found. Possible explanations for non-significant results are discussed.