Calculating Morality and Decision Making




Hansen, Joshua
Smith, Brenna
Kreitler, Crystal

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The dual-process theory of moral judgment (Greene, 2008) hypothesizes that moral responses to ethical decisions are fundamentally guided by two differing systems: one based in calculated reason (utilitarianism) and the other guided by intuition and affect (deontological). The former is a consequentialist framework (i.e., it is the result of the ethical decision which determines its moral value) while the latter maintains that it is the intent of an action, and not the consequences, which determines an actions moral worth. In this study we hypothesized that if the dual-process theory of moral judgment is indeed correct, there should be an observable difference between the moral judgments of participants who were exposed to a logical prime (experimental group), and participants who were not (control group). Results revealed a significant difference in the prevalence of utilitarian responses for males in response to the Lifeboat vignette. In addition, there seemed to be some difference in the Kidney vignette between the two conditions.



Utilitarian, Decision Making, Morality