A question of morality? The influence of moral salience and nationality on media preferences

Nicholas David Bowman, Sven Jöckel, Leyla Dogruel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study examines the potential role of morality subcultures in mediating the relationship between one's nationality and the preferences for three movie (drama, action, horror) and three TV (comedy, news, sports) genres in a sample of US and German students (N = 453). Morality subcultures were derived from research on Moral Foundation Theory (MFT), which conceptualizes morality as being shaped by first intuitive processes and later moral reasoning. We proposed a dual mediation model with two latent domains of morality: individualizing foundations indicative of a more liberal perspective and binding foundations indicative of a more conservative outlook. Although direct effects of one's nationality on media genre preference were found, moral salience of these two moral foundations partially mediated this relationship for the genres action, drama, news, and sports. These data support emerging research on the importance of using morality subcultures to understand the appeal of various forms of media entertainment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-369
Number of pages25
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture
  • Media preference
  • Model of Intuitive Morality and Exemplars (MIME)
  • Moral Foundations Theory (MFT)
  • Morality
  • Morality subculture
  • Partial mediation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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