Quantifying moral foundations from various topics on Twitter conversations

Rishemjit Kaur, Kazutoshi Sasahara

Moral foundations theory explains variations in moral behavior using innate moral foundations: Care, Fairness, Ingroup, Authority, and Purity, along with experimental supports. However, little is known about the roles of and relationships between those foundations in everyday moral situations. To address these, we quantify moral foundations from a large amount of online conversations (tweets) about moral topics on the social media site Twitter. We measure moral loadings using latent semantic analysis of tweets related to topics on abortion, homosexuality, immigration, religion, and immorality in general, showing how the five moral foundations function in spontaneous conversations about moral violating situations. The results indicate that although the five foundations are mutually related, Purity is the most distinctive foundation and Care is the most dominant foundation in everyday conversations on immorality. Our study shows a new possibility of natural language processing and social big data for moral psychology.

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