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Moral Conflict In Daily Life
Everyday life is filled with ethical gray areas where doing the right thing requires navigating competing values. Yet our understanding of everyday moral decision-making is limited by the fact that existing research often relies on unrealistic hypothetical scenarios. Here we leverage a large-scale online repository of moral experiences to understand moral decision-making in everyday life: the “Am I the Asshole?” forum on Reddit (N = 369,161 posts). Using large language models (e.g., GPT-3) we identify the moral dilemmas in each post then explore the social circumstances in which these dilemmas are most likely to occur. Analysis reveals that the relational context, and in particular the relational closeness, between individuals modulates the relevance of moral principles, such that different principles occur in interactions with close versus distant others. Overall, these data highlight the importance of social relationships in shaping moral thinking, and suggest that moral disagreements often stem from disagreements about relational obligations.