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Apr 28, 2017 08:35 AM EDT

Most people perceive moral judgments as something negative. However, because people give so much value to their moral reputation, it becomes a critical means to encourage good behavior in the society, a new study suggests.

A research conducted by Stanford University sociologist Robb Willer and researchers at the University of South Carolina reveals that the way people value their moral reputation makes them behave well and cooperate with each other, Stanford Business reported. It also suggests that people are more likely to cooperate rather than risk being judged negatively for their actions.

Willer, who is a Stanford Graduate School of Business professor of organizational behavior by courtesy, explained that what most people think is that moral judgments are always not good or negative, when in fact, they can be effective means so that people will feel compelled to practice good behavior in the society.

The findings of the study also suggest that the groups who were given the chance to make both positive and negative judgments of each other became more trusting and generous towards each other.

This idea about how moral judgments are important to social order has been existing from many years ago. In fact, it has been around since the late 19th century according to Ethical Psychology. However, very few studies have been conducted to observe how people's opinion such as liking or disapproval can impact the behavior of each person in groups. There was also no study done to examine how moral judgments compare with monetary sanctions, which also results in cooperation, according to Willer.

So their study have shown the results that moral judgments are also a significant influence compared to monetary sanctions when it comes to achieving cooperation in groups. Although both can influence and encourage the same level of cooperation, using money to punish groups that have shown unwanted behavior only result in retaliation.

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