We like to believe that the principled side of the equation is rooted in deep, reasoned conviction. But a growing wealth of research shows that those values often prove to be finicky, inconsistent intuitions, swayed by ethically irrelevant factors. What you say now you might disagree with in five minutes. And such wavering has implications for both public policy and our personal lives.
It also doesn’t show that our grasp of moral truth is tenuous. Lots of moral truths are completely obvious, and people have no problem with them. The point of varying the trolley problems is precisely to elicit confusion and inconsistency, by emphasizing different of the (very real) values that are at stake in the problems, which conflict in the circumstances described (as values do in many actual choices situations).Moral Matter
Transduction induces both veridical representation and editorializing on the biological value of events and objects, such as fright at the apprehension of threat. Morality, perhaps counterintuitively, begins with editorialized sensation. To echo Locke, we curiously annex feelings of anger and disgust to the transgressive behavior of others.How Your Moral Decisions are Shaped by a Bad Mood
These findings raise some further questions, some of which psychologists have been attempting to answer for a long time. Emotions and logical thought are frequently portrayed as competing processes, with emotions depicted as getting in the way of effective decision-making. The results here are another demonstration that instead of competing, our emotions and our cognitions interact and work closely to determine our behaviors.Cooperation comes easily but thinking makes us selfish - "A set of ten studies suggests that intuition promotes cooperation, but rational thought turns us selfish."
In the experiment, subjects decide between either saving the life of a mouse or receiving money. We compare individual decisions to those made in a bilateral and a multilateral market. In both markets, the willingness to kill the mouse is substantially higher than in individual decisions. Furthermore, in the multilateral market, prices for life deteriorate tremendously.Is that the answer you had in mind? The effect of perspective on unethical behavior
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