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Virtue Signaling

missy

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OK, so in another thread a poster mentioned she hates it when others virtue signal. And at that moment, thinking about it, I realized uh oh yeah unintentionally I do that occasionally. I swear it is unintentional as I am posting exactly my thoughts at the time. With no desire to impress or look virtuous in any way. But yeah when I read what she wrote I was like I do that sometimes. For the record I hate when people virtue signal too. I truly do. In fact my dh have had several conversations over the past few years about others who virtue signal often and we both dislike it. I think though that most of us do it occasionally though.

I am human and I am flawed and occasionally I unintentionally virtue signal.

How about you? Do you ever virtue signal? What do you think of others who virtue signal? What do you do when people start virtue signaling? Especially repeat offenders? Do you think they are doing it on purpose? Or they don't even realize it? Maybe it is coming from the heart with no intention to look virtuous and good? Or is it purposefully done to impress?


I am very interested to hear your thoughts about virtue signaling as it is quite prevalent all over IMO.


calvinandhobbesvirtuesignaling.jpg


FWIW thank you to the poster who wrote that. I am going to be more conscious about what I write now. LOL I hope that isn't considered virtue signaling. Oy. :doh: :lol:
 

missy

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One more thing. Is Virtue Signaling always a bad thing? Or can there be potential benefits to it? I mean, can it encourage/motivate others to do good? Maybe right? It's not all bad. IDK just thinking out loud.



virtuesignaling.jpg
 

missy

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Are You ‘Virtue Signaling’?
Probably. But that doesn’t mean your outrage is inauthentic.
'
Expressions of moral outrage are playing a prominent role in contemporary debates about issues like sexual assault, immigration and police brutality. In response, there have been criticisms of expressions of outrage as mere “virtue signaling” — feigned righteousness intended to make the speaker appear superior by condemning others.
Clearly, feigned righteousness exists. We can all think of cases where people simulated or exaggerated feelings of outrage because they had a strategic reason to do so. Politicians on the campaign trail, for example, are frequent offenders.
So it may seem reasonable to ask, whenever someone is expressing indignation, “Is she genuinely outraged or just virtue signaling?” But in many cases this question is misguided, for the answer is often “both.”
You may not realize it, but distinguishing between genuine and strategic expressions of indignation assumes a particular scientific theory: namely, that there are two separable psychological systems that shape expressions of moral outrage. One is a “genuine” system that evaluates a transgression in light of our moral values and determines what level of outrage we actually feel. The other is a “strategic” system that evaluates our social context and determines what level of outrage will look best to others. Authentic expressions of outrage involve only the first system, whereas virtue signaling involves the second system.
This theory may be intuitively compelling, but new research suggests that it is wrong. Psychological studies reveal that a person’s authentically experienced outrage is inherently interwoven with subconscious concerns about her reputation. In other words, even genuine outrage can be strategic.
In a paper forthcoming in The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we show that even when people are unobserved — and thus have no incentive to signal their virtue — their sense of moral outrage is influenced by their desire to be seen positively by others.
In several experiments, we presented participants with an act of selfish behavior, in which one person was given an opportunity to split a sum of money with another person but decided to keep all the money for himself. Then we asked the participants to rate their degree of outrage toward the selfish person. This took place in a completely anonymous online environment, so that no one — not even us, the researchers — could link the subjects’ responses to their identities.
But before we asked our subjects to rate their degree of outrage toward the selfish person, we asked about half of them to complete another task: We provided them with a sum of money and gave them the opportunity to share it with an unidentified stranger. (Some shared, some didn’t.) This also took place in a completely anonymous online environment.
What we found might strike you as peculiar. When our participants rated their degree of moral outrage toward the selfish person, those who had not been given an opportunity to share money with another person reported feeling significantly more moral outrage than did those who had been given that opportunity.
On the face of it, this might seem strange. Why would having an opportunity to act morally in one setting influence your level of moral outrage in another — especially when your identity is secret the entire time?
Our data support the following explanation: People have a subconscious desire to signal their virtue. Even in private, people implicitly ask themselves, “If I were being observed, how good would I look?”
Consider the participants who were given an opportunity to act morally by sharing money. If they had been observed, their choice would have served as a powerful signal of their virtue (or lack thereof). And as a result, the value of expressing outrage as a virtue signal would decline. After all, if a participant chose to share, she would look virtuous regardless of how much outrage she subsequently expressed toward the selfish person. (And if she chose not to share, she would look dishonorable regardless of how much outrage she later expressed.)
In contrast, the participants who were not given the opportunity to share money had no way to signal their virtue to a hypothetical observer besides getting outraged. So, even though no one was watching, they had a stronger subconscious motivation to express outrage — and, as we found, they reported feeling significantly more outraged.
What our findings show is that asking whether outrage is “pure” is the wrong question. Even authentic outrage is influenced by implicit strategic calculations. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with evolutionary theories that hypothesize that morality arose precisely as a way of signaling one’s trustworthiness in cooperative endeavors.
But this also shouldn’t strike you as cynical. In fact, we view our findings optimistically. They suggest that if an individual is motivated by a desire to signal her virtue, that does not necessarily mean she is faking her outrage. Of course, people do sometimes fake or exaggerate their outrage to look good. Our point is that the presence of strategic motives does not itself make a moral reaction inauthentic.
That’s something to keep in mind the next time you are tempted to dismiss something as mere virtue signaling.
Jillian Jordan is a postdoctoral fellow at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. David Rand is an associate professor at the Sloan School of Management and the department of brain and cognitive sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.'
 

dk168

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TBH, I don't know what virtue signaling means and had to look it up.

I don't know if I do it intentionally or unintentionally or not.

However, I would remind myself not to throw the first stone when it comes to commenting.

I am not squeaky clean and have an interesting/spicy past, and do not have a halo above my head, that much is certain.

DK ;)2
 

lissyflo

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I say this completely facetiously, but if people are scared of saying ‘nice’ things for fear of being accused of virtue signalling, and are also hesitant/scared/not wanting to say nasty things for fear of being rude/obnoxious/banned, then hangout will be deathly quiet and we’ll start to see the tumbleweeds rolling!

(sensible response to follow!)
 

missy

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@lissyflo agreed!

@dk168 anyone who is squeaky clean is also not real. No one is without fault. Except for animals. I should say no “human” is without fault. What’s that quote? To err is human. To forgive divine.
 

lyra

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I hope I never come across as virtue signalling, which I too had to google. I'm flawed. I'm pretty open and honest. Is that virtue signalling? Ugh.
 

missy

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@lyra we’re all flawed. I’m guilty because I’m an open book (is that virtue signaling?) and share most everything. I realize after reading what the poster wrote yes I’m virtue signaling but not purposefully. Like I was telling some here how we gave a big chunk to our favorite charities off season this year. Twice. Due to the hard times the charities are experiencing. Definitely virtue signaling. But I didn’t do that intentionally. I was explaining why I’m probably not buying jewelry right now. Despite having my eyes on a specific piece. But thinking about it I don’t like how that comes across. :oops: Do I regret sharing it though? No. Because I was explaining my thought process. Still though don’t love how it seems. I didn’t mean it to be virtue signaling.
:(
 

seaurchin

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Well, first I think that thread's question (which I started) was poorly worded. What I was really after was a light, funny thread of stories about style blunders people have noticed on others or had pointed out to them.

Instead, apparently most people thought I was asking if they would go up to someone they barely knew and tell that person about a perceived style blunder. So, in answering the question, they would probably say they would not do such a rude thing, a discussion which naturally leads to what could be seen as "virtue signaling." Sorry!

That said, the definition of "virtue signaling" seems hazy to me. Here's one quick definition:

"Virtue signaling: the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue."

So apparently it depends on the speaker's intent, which outsiders can only guess at.

Also, for what it's worth, I think people also tend to do that sort of thing- carefully clarifying that they have good intent- when they feel like they might be misunderstood, judged harshly or pounced on otherwise, rather than only to show off how great they are.
 
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missy

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Well, first I think that thread's question (which I started) was poorly worded. What I was really after was a light, funny thread of stories about style blunders people have noticed on others or had pointed out to them.

Instead, apparently most people thought I was asking if they would go up to someone they barely knew and tell that person about a perceived style blunder. So, in answering the question, they would probably say they would not do such a rude thing, a discussion which easily leads to what could be seen as "virtue signaling." Sorry!

That said, the definition of "virtue signaling" seems hazy to me. Here's one quick definition:

Virtue signaling: the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.

So apparently it depends on the speaker's intent, which outsiders can only guess at.

Also, for what it's worth, I think people also tend to do that sort of thing- carefully clarifying that they have good intent- when they feel like they might be misunderstood, judged harshly or pounced on otherwise, rather than to show off how great they are.
Please don’t apologize!!!! You have absolutely zero to be sorry for regarding that thread.
Agree it’s all about intent. Though you know that quote. The road to hell... :lol:

I am not going to censor my thoughts. However I do believe in being polite. So I don’t always say exactly what I’m thinking. Let’s just say I curse a lot in my mind. That is all. :)
 

emeraldhummingbird

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Maybe I don't fully understand what virtue signalling means, but I don't get why it's a bad thing unless you are attacking people with your opinions.

I am probably guilty of it because I find it important to put my views out there on subjects I find important i.e. the environment or racism. When I scroll through my Facebook feed and comments on news articles all I see are people who think so completely differently to me that I can feel very alone and sad. So I feel compelled sometimes to get on my soapbox and "virtue signal" what I think is right. Part of me is doing it for the "me" on the other side of the world looking for someone to relate to in a sea of crazies. Of course I could be the crazy one :lol:
 

missy

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For those who aren’t sure of the meaning here’s a definition.



vir·tue sig·nal·ing

noun
the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one's good character or the moral correctness of one's position on a particular issue.
"it's noticeable how often virtue signaling consists of saying you hate things"


and

Virtue signalling is a pejorative neologism for the conspicuous and disingenuous expression of moral values with the intent to enhance one's own image.”
 

missy

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Note the disingenuous in the definition. I agree. If one is purposely doing this it’s not flattering imo. But if one is genuinely expressing something I think it’s AOK.

jmo.
 

stracci2000

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I always thought it was strange how certain establishments praised people for being big donors.
For instance, DH and I have been to performances of our local philharmonic.
They have a rolling monitor screen where they show the names of donors.
Everyone can see who gave multiple thousands and who gave $50.

And what about churches who have plaques showing who gave large amounts towards the construction of the building?

Even my upper tier boss makes a big show of how the company donated to a charity of his choice at Christmas.
 

Slick1

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I don’t think I do this. I mostly keep my opinions, causes and thoughts to myself. I think that’s because I grew up with an older bully sibling who was never wrong! :lol:
 

yssie

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I didn’t know what this was - the article explaining it was helpful :))

Of course, people do sometimes fake or exaggerate their outrage to look good. Our point is that the presence of strategic motives does not itself make a moral reaction inauthentic.
I completely disagree with this assessment. Authenticity isn’t a binary “on/off switch” that disregards motivation - authenticity should explicitly consider motivation! Authentically expressing a perspective, in my definition, means doing your best to clearly convey both your sentiment and the measure of your sentiment.

I blame social media for the homogenization of moral expectation.
 
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nala

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A lot of posters are afraid to be authentic bc we have seen some posters harshly criticized for having a differing opinion or reaction than the “moral majority” on PS. No one likes to be piled on, ganged up on, etc by the moral police. So I’m not surprised people do resort to virtue signaling—consciously or subconsciously.
 

mellowyellowgirl

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I had to Google this and to be honest I'm not sure what the issue is.

Say for example if people are nasty to their dogs I'll pox them for a thousand years. That's truly how I feel. I don't think it makes me saintly since it's probably not good to pox people.

There was a neighbor in my childhood who had a dog. Poor thing was locked in the yard and had fleas. The fleas so bad it developed a severe skin condition. Of course she didn't take it to the vet.

She was at our house one day declaring how clever she was at getting rid of the dog. She put a blind fold on it, drove it somewhere unknown and released it.

I poxed her. Oh I poxed her good. I wished her every bad thing under the sun.

About ten years later I learned that she died alone of a heart attack and her body wasn't discovered for days. I got great satisfaction from that and told my parents so despite my mother telling me God was going to curse me
for being smug that someone died.
 

Skyjems

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My $.02, it's gross when done by a company that has not supported a particular cause until it became popular.

IE: All the companies coming out in support of BLM who never gave a damn before it became popular.

Specifically heinous: Nike sponsoring equality and justice for all, while manufacturing shoes and clothing in sweat shop conditions paying pennies per day in wages.
 

yssie

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I had to Google this and to be honest I'm not sure what the issue is.

Say for example if people are nasty to their dogs I'll pox them for a thousand years. That's truly how I feel. I don't think it makes me saintly since it's probably not good to pox people.
I too feel the pox was wholly deserved, and cosmic justice declared fair comeuppance. My parents would also have objected to me voicing that view, but I too would have anyway. :saint:
 

Matata

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OK, so in another thread a poster mentioned she hates it when others virtue signal.
If you're referring to me, I didn't say I hate it, I said it makes me :rolleyes:. And it doesn't make me :rolleyes: all of the time.
 

Matata

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Those that complain about it need to look in the mirror first.
Have you done that lately? You were often scornful and disrespectful when voicing your opinions about things with which you disagreed in political discussions. And since you're a self-proclaimed and proud stickler for PS rules, did you report yourself for posting a prayer in your 9/11 thread? Religion is verboten here or are you exempt for some reason?
 

Karl_K

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Have you done that lately? Yes and I never claimed to be perfect. I am far from perfect.
You were often scornful and disrespectful when voicing your opinions about things with which you disagreed in political discussions. Sadly yes, I did do that and I am sorry.

And since you're a self-proclaimed and proud stickler for PS rules, did you report yourself for posting a prayer in your 9/11 thread? Religion is verboten here or are you exempt for some reason? No im not; but one thread, one day a year is. I rec'd permission many many years ago.
 
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mrs-b

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Back in the day it just fell into the general category of bragging. Personally, I've long used the term "self-righteous, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou nitwit!" for what we now call virtue signalling. It's irritating - and I think that's what makes the fundamental difference between it being bragging vs sharing a genuine interest or specific achievement ie the way these declarations of goodness effect their hearers.

I don't find it difficult to celebrate the successes of others, and I'm more often than not relieved when it's apparent that people are doing the right thing - publicly or privately. If they need a pat on the back to do it - no problem! I'm happy to give it.

But lying is different. "I'm doing this - that - and the other good thing" when the reality is that you're doing NONE of those things is just braggy lies, and I find it's easiest to simply walk away from that kind of thing.

Like a lot of things in life, it's generally best to give others a lot of space, not look too closely, nor judge too harshly, and to keep one's opinions to oneself.

:mrgreen:
 
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Matata

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@Karl_K under the old owners? Maybe it's time to you get re permitted since the rules are allegedly being applied in a strict way. And if that happens, I think it would be nice if you somehow worded it to include at least the 3 major world religions instead of just christianity. Thanks in advance for considering that.

No im not; but one thread, one day a year is. I rec'd permission many many years ago.
 

Karl_K

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I think it would be nice if you somehow worded it to include at least the 3 major world religions instead of just Christianity. Thanks in advance for considering that.
I have considered that but I do not feel right speaking for a religion I am not. That would be false of me.
If anyone wanted to add prayers in their religion they are welcome to do so in that one thread on that one day.
 
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