Morality

Do you pull a lever to rescue 5 people on a runaway trolley, yet in doing so, you will take the life of an innocent bystander?

I’m writing my thesis on moral decision making. Basically, I want to investigate if exposure to certain types of media content can shape certain (cognitive) aspects of decision making, especially when it comes to moral dilemmas.

I was hoping that some of you would have 5-10 minutes spare to participate in my experiment, which involves judgement on dilemmas like the one above, except with some further elaboration, of course.

Click here to participate.

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More information
This isn’t about what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ from an philosophical perspective. Instead, there are psychological theories which suggest that many decisions are based on quick, unconscious decision making. Of course, we sometimes also weigh and rationalize choices, although this occurs with a certain deliberative, conscious and slower cognitive processing. Depending on the different aspects of the dilemma, it may or may not engage more cognitive processing. This is why it is important to measure the time taken to respond to dilemmas.

Media effects is a highly contested area of research. Most of the research is focused on violence, tested directly after exposure. This is why I am aiming to measure if there are cumulative effects from increased exposure to certain types of media, as this area of research is lacking. The main focus is to determine if media are able to change the processing of judgements – so, for example, if you often see people getting killed, does it then become intuitive to kill?

Also, the particular media and the characteristics examined are not mentioned, as I do not wish to prime any of you into thinking about your exposure beforehand. You will however be given further information upon completion of the survey.

Thanks for your time 🙂

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10 Comments

  1. Studies employing standardized toxicity tests used globally for regulatory decision making thus far have supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA.[ 1 ] However, results of recent studies using novel approaches and different endpoints describe BPA effects in laboratory animals at very low doses corresponding to some estimated human exposures.[ 2 ] Many of these new studies evaluated developmental or behavioral effects that are not typically assessed in standardized tests.

  2. develop an efficient and effective exposure assessment strategy. A good exposure assessment strategy should lead to the correct exposure decision with the least number of measurements and there should be a high degree of certainty in the correctness of the decision. If subjective judgments by occupational hygienists are accurate, then the number of monitoring data required to achieve a high level of certainty should be reduced. It was proposed that factors, such as educational background of the occupational hygienist, various experience levels and knowledge of the task/process/chemicals would help predict the accuracy of professional judgments better. These factors can also be referred to as determinants of judgment accuracy. This research aimed at developing a comprehensive and easy to use tool that can be easily applied to any work environment with minimal amount of change in the design of the models.

  3. Zajonc tested the mere-exposure effect by using meaningless Chinese characters on two groups of individuals. The individuals were then told that these symbols represented adjectives and were asked to rate whether the symbols held positive or negative connotations. The symbols that had been previously seen by the test subjects were consistently rated more positively than those unseen. After this experiment, the group with repeated exposure to certain characters reported being in better moods and felt more positive than those who did not receive repeated exposure.

  4. Zajonc tested the mere-exposure effect by using meaningless Chinese characters on two groups of individuals. The individuals were then told that these symbols represented adjectives and were asked to rate whether the symbols held positive or negative connotations. The symbols that had been previously seen by the test subjects were consistently rated more positively than those unseen. After this experiment, the group with repeated exposure to certain characters reported being in better moods and felt more positive than those who did not receive repeated exposure.

  5. We investigated whether different modes of decision making (deliberate, intuitive, distracted) affect subsequent confirmatory processing of decision-consistent and inconsistent information. Participants showed higher levels of confirmatory information processing when they made a deliberate or an intuitive decision versus a decision under distraction (Studies 1 and 2). As soon as participants have a cognitive (i.e., deliberate cognitive analysis) or affective (i.e., intuitive and gut feeling) reason for their decision, the subjective confidence in the validity of their decision increases, which results in increased levels of confirmatory information processing (Study 2). In contrast, when participants are distracted during decision making, they are less certain about the validity of their decision and thus are subsequently more balanced in the processing of decision-relevant information.

  6. Jamar Nunez says:

    Therefore, the more attractive an information source was, the more positive and detailed one was with making their decision because factors like one’s attractiveness was considered. Physical attractiveness affects one’s decision because it increases the perceived quality of information. Physically attractive information sources increased the quality of consistent information needed to make decisions and increased the selective exposure in decision-relevant information, supporting the researchers hypothesis.

  7. schnappi says:

    one question of the survey is questionable tho.

    it was the one where u have to decide to inject to find out which cure will help.

    because i take care of these and they trust me, i would have to talk to them to decide who we will be injected, including me.

    ps: beforehand i would’ve taken care of, that the cure can be reproduced by either of my cared ones in case i would die.

    • Liefje says:

      I agree, the dilemmas aren’t perfect and many creative people can come up with other solutions 🙂

      • schnappi says:

        the dilemmas were pretty clear for me and i had np at all to answer them except this one question, because the social dilemma were to heavy in this though… so i was kind of forced to give a ‘no’, even though i didnt want to – but i had no choice, because of the dilemma of the relationship between these cared ones and me.

        the other questions didnt have these high social dilemma aspect in it.

        i would rather die myself than kill one of my beloved ones, even if it’d be for the greater good in the future… and in case i would do so… i guess it would lead to deopressions, which would lead into committing suicide in the end.

        • schnappi says:

          sry for the typos tho.

          …kill one of my beloved ones, even if it wouldn’t.. (that i wanted to correct / rest w/e – usual typos, dun rly care)…

          best example for this high dilemma, since i’ve just finished ‘the last of us’, is the very end of it, when ellie asks joel the final question. (in this particular case i’m with ellie though – for the greater good she wanted to die)

          but… to end this with a question: did ellie lie too or did she lie like joel did on purpose – in the end?

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