Kusev, Petko, van Schaik, Paul, Alzahrani, Shrooq, Lonigro, Samantha and Kuvaldina, Svitlana (2014) Uncertainty and Morality of Utilitarian Judgments. In: 55th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, 20-23rd November 2014, California, USA. (Unpublished)

Is it acceptable and moral to sacrifice a few people’s lives to save many others? Research on moral dilemmas has shown that respondents judge personal moral actions as less appropriate than equivalent impersonal moral actions. Accordingly, theorists (e.g., Greene et al., 2001) have argued that judgments of appropriateness in personal moral dilemmas are (i) more emotionally salient than impersonal moral dilemmas, and (ii) more cognitively demanding, as respondents spend relatively more time judging the appropriateness of personal moral actions. In contrast, our
research shows that level of uncertainty rather than personal involvement influence judgments of appropriateness. Information about moral actions and consequences eliminates uncertainty, and boosts the visibility of utilitarian moral
actions; accordingly, respondents judge utilitarian moral actions as increasingly appropriate. Our findings highlight a need to investigate how variation in uncertainty produces
variation in utilitarian judgments

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