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Keywords:

  • motivated reasoning;
  • reciprocity;
  • negative reciprocity norm;
  • political orientation;
  • punishment

The negative reciprocity norm (NRN) is the personal moral code specifying retaliation as a proper response to wrongdoing (Eisenberger, Lynch, Aselage, & Rohdieck, 2004). We examined the role of negative reciprocity in interpreting and reacting to the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib. Results showed that people who believed that American soldiers behaved wrongly at Abu Ghraib were more likely to view punishing the soldiers responsible as a highly moral response and were less likely to contribute money to a charitable organization that helps American soldiers. These relationships were only present among those highly endorsing the negative reciprocity norm.