Honors Theses


Erin M. O’Mara



Publication Date

Spring 4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis


Previous research on moral licensing demonstrates that individuals who behave morally are less willing to help in the future; but is this still the case when the cost of helping is low? The present thesis examined the effects of moral licensing on prosocial behavior that is high in cost-to-self and low in cost-to-self. Contrary to past literature, participants in the control condition did not rate themselves as more willing to help than participants who felt morally licensed. This presents a need for more thorough research on the mechanisms of moral licensing. Participants did, however, rate themselves as more willing to help when the cost-to-self was low than when the cost-to-self was high. These findings are important for understanding how moral licensing works, specifically with respect to cost of helping, to predict when people are likely or not likely to engage in moral behaviors.

Permission Statement

This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

Included in

Psychology Commons