Bilska, Katarzyna and Kusev, Petko (2016) Moral Utility: How Utilitarian Identity Affects Choice Rationality and Latency. In: International Meeting of the Psychonomics Society, 5-8th May 2016, Spain. (Unpublished)
Abstract

Do humans think it is acceptable and moral, to sacrifice a life of one person in order to save many other people? Over years, many theorists (e.g., Greene, Sommerville, Nystrom, Darley &
Cohen, 2001; Greene & Haidt, 2002; Mikhail, 2007, Mikhail, 2009; Thomson, 1985) have explored the influence of action involvement in hypothetical moral scenarios (personal-footbridge and impersonal-trolley dilemmas) on utilitarian judgments. Obtained results, indicate a tendency for people to judge utilitarian, personal actions to be less appropriate and less moral than
equivalent utilitarian, impersonal actions. Greene et al.’s (2001), dual-process theory of moral behaviour predicts that, judging the appropriateness of personal dilemmas (that activate emotional affect) is more cognitively demanding and thus, results in people taking significantly more time to be rational, than in the impersonal moral dilemmas. In one experiment we explored the influence of action involvement, group identity as well attractiveness of the
person under moral consideration/decision on choice rationality and decision-making time. Respondents tend to make more rational decisions when presented with moral scenarios involving ‘sexually attractive’utilitarian target (as opposed to ‘sexually non-attractive’), and they took less time making the decision, but surprisingly more time justifying their rational choice. These are novel findings, not anticipated by existing moral utilitarian theoretical accounts

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