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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ethical dilemma

 

Diverging Effects of Clean Versus Dirty Money on Attitudes, Values, and Interpersonal Behavior

Qing Yang et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Does the cue of money lead to selfish, greedy, exploitative behaviors or to fairness, exchange, and reciprocity? We found evidence for both, suggesting that people have both sets of meaningful associations, which can be differentially activated by exposure to clean versus dirty money. In a field experiment at a farmers' market, vendors who handled dirty money subsequently cheated customers, whereas those who handled clean money gave fair value (Experiment 1). In laboratory studies with economic games, participants who had previously handled and counted dirty money tended toward selfish, unfair practices - unlike those who had counted clean money or dirty paper, both of which led to fairness and reciprocity. These patterns were found with the trust game (Experiment 2), the prisoner's dilemma (Experiment 4), the ultimatum game (Experiment 5), and the dictator game (Experiment 6). Cognitive measures indicated that exposure to dirty money lowered moral standards (Experiment 3) and reduced positive attitudes toward fairness and reciprocity (Experiments 6-7), whereas exposure to clean money had the opposite effects. Thus, people apparently have 2 contradictory sets of associations (including behavioral tendencies) to money, which is a complex, powerful, and ubiquitous aspect of human social life and cultural organization.

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When Cheating Would Make You a Cheater: Implicating the Self Prevents Unethical Behavior

Christopher Bryan, Gabrielle Adams & Benoît Monin
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, forthcoming

Abstract:
In 3 experiments using 2 different paradigms, people were less likely to cheat for personal gain when a subtle change in phrasing framed such behavior as diagnostic of an undesirable identity. Participants were given the opportunity to claim money they were not entitled to at the experimenters' expense; instructions referred to cheating with either language that was designed to highlight the implications of cheating for the actor's identity (e.g., "Please don't be a cheater") or language that focused on the action (e.g., "Please don't cheat"). Participants in the "cheating" condition claimed significantly more money than did participants in the "cheater" condition, who showed no evidence of having cheated at all. This difference occurred both in a face-to-face interaction (Experiment 1) and in a private online setting (Experiments 2 and 3). These results demonstrate the power of a subtle linguistic difference to prevent even private unethical behavior by invoking people's desire to maintain a self-image as good and honest.

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Liberals and Conservatives Rely on Common Moral Foundations When Making Moral Judgments About Influential People

Jeremy Frimer et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
Do liberals and conservatives have qualitatively different moral points of view? Specifically, do liberals and conservatives rely on the same or different sets of moral foundations - care, fairness, loyalty, authority, and purity (Haidt, 2012) - when making moral judgments about influential people? In Study 1, 100 experts evaluated the impact that 40 influential figures had on each moral foundation, yielding stimulus materials for the remaining studies. In Study 2, 177 American liberal and conservative professors rated the moral character of the same figures. Liberals and conservatives relied on the same three moral foundations: for both groups, promoting care, fairness, and purity - but not authority or loyalty - predicted moral judgments of the targets. For liberals promoting authority negatively predicted moral judgments. Political ideology moderated the purity-moral and especially authority-moral relationships, implying that purity and authority are grounds for political disagreement. Study 3 replicated these results with 222 folk raters. Folk liberals and conservatives disagreed even less about the moral standing of the targets than did experts. Together, these findings imply that moral foundation theory may have exaggerated differences between liberals and conservatives. The moral codes of liberals and conservatives do differ systematically; however, their similarities outweigh their differences. Liberals and conservatives alike rely on care, fairness, and purity when making moral judgments about influential people.

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Is Dishonesty Contagious?

Innes Robert & Mitra Arnab
Economic Inquiry, January 2013, Pages 722-734

Abstract:
When an individual believes that peers are predominantly untruthful in a given situation, is he/she more likely to be untruthful in that situation? We study this question in deception experiments patterned after Gneezy [Gneezy U. "Deception: The Role of Consequences." American Economic Review, 95, 2005, 384-94] and conducted in Arizona, California, and India. We find evidence that dishonesty is indeed contagious.

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When it takes a bad person to do the right thing

Eric Luis Uhlmann, Luke (Lei) Zhu & David Tannenbaum
Cognition, forthcoming

Abstract:
Three studies demonstrate that morally praiseworthy behavior can signal negative information about an agent's character. In particular, consequentialist decisions such as sacrificing one life to save an even greater number of lives can lead to unfavorable character evaluations, even when they are viewed as the preferred course of action. In Study 1, throwing a dying man overboard to prevent a lifeboat from sinking was perceived as the morally correct course of action, but led to negative aspersions about the motivations and personal character of individuals who carried out such an act. In Studies 2 and 3, a hospital administrator who decided not to fund an expensive operation to save a child (instead buying needed hospital equipment) was seen as making a pragmatic and morally praiseworthy decision, but also as deficient in empathy and moral character.

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Roman Catholic beliefs produce characteristic neural responses to moral dilemmas

Julia Christensen et al.
Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, forthcoming

Abstract:
This study provides exploratory evidence about how behavioral and neural responses to standard moral dilemmas are influenced by religious belief. Eleven Catholics and thirteen Atheists (all female) judged 48 moral dilemmas. Differential neural activity between the two groups was found in precuneus and in prefrontal, frontal and temporal regions. Furthermore, a double dissociation showed that Catholics recruited different areas for deontological (precuneus; temporoparietal junction [TPJ]) and utilitarian moral judgments (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex [DLPFC]; temporal poles [TP]), whereas Atheists did not (superior parietal gyrus [SPG] for both types of judgment). Finally, we tested how both groups responded to personal and impersonal moral dilemmas: Catholics showed enhanced activity in DLPFC and posterior cingulate cortex [PCC] during utilitarian moral judgments to impersonal moral dilemmas, and enhanced responses in anterior cingulate cortex [ACC] and superior temporal sulcus [STS] during deontological moral judgments to personal moral dilemmas. Our results indicate that moral judgment can be influenced by an acquired set of norms and conventions transmitted through religious indoctrination and practice. Catholic individuals may hold enhanced awareness of the incommensurability between two unequivocal doctrines of the Catholic belief set, triggered explicitly in a moral dilemma: help and care in all circumstances - but thou shalt not kill.

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Comfortably Numb or Just Yet Another Movie? Media Violence Exposure Does Not Reduce Viewer Empathy for Victims of Real Violence Among Primarily Hispanic Viewers

Raul Ramos et al.
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

Abstract:
Continued debate exists regarding the impact of media violence exposure on viewers' thoughts and behaviors. One facet of this debate has focused on the possibility that viewing media violence may desensitize viewers to the suffering of others and reduce their empathy. In the current study, 238 mostly Hispanic, young adults were randomized to watch either a violent or nonviolent TV show. Participants also watched clips of either fictional victims of violence (i.e., movie clips) or clips of actual people being injured or killed. Participants were significantly more empathic of victims' suffering when they knew they were watching real violence rather than fictional violence. However, previous exposure to a violent or nonviolent TV show did not reduce empathy. These results suggest that, at least among a primarily Hispanic audience, viewers' processing of media depends upon whether they understand it to be real or fictional, and media violence does not necessarily reduce empathy to real-life violence.

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Collectivism and the Meaning of Suffering

Daniel Sullivan et al.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
People need to understand why an instance of suffering occurred and what purpose it might have. One widespread account of suffering is a repressive suffering construal (RSC): interpreting suffering as occurring because people deviate from social norms and as having the purpose of reinforcing the social order. Based on the theorizing of Emile Durkheim and others, we propose that RSC is associated with social morality - the belief that society dictates morality - and is encouraged by collectivist (as opposed to individualist) sentiments. Study 1 showed that dispositional collectivism predicts both social morality and RSC. Studies 2-4 showed that priming collectivist (vs. individualist) self-construal increases RSC of various types of suffering and that this effect is mediated by increased social morality (Study 4). Study 5 examined behavioral intentions, demonstrating that parents primed with a collectivist self-construal interpreted children's suffering more repressively and showed greater support for corporal punishment of children.

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Was There a Structural Break in Barry Bonds's Bat?

Michael Nieswiadomy, Mark Strazicich & Stephen Clayton
Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, October 2012

Abstract:
In a recent paper, Fair (2008) utilizes monthly data on on-base percentage plus slugging percentage (OPS) to estimate the expected age profile of batting performance in Major League Baseball (MLB) and finds a peak performance at 27.6 years. However, he notes that a small group of 18 players have age-performance profiles that deviate significantly from the expected profile, most notably Barry Bonds. In this paper, we extend the work of Fair (2008) by investigating the time series properties of Bonds's OPS to test for a deterministic or stochastic trend and to search for structural breaks. While Bonds's performance is above average, we should not expect that deviations in his age-performance profile from that of the typical batter should contain a deterministic trend. In our investigation, we utilize unit root tests that estimate breaks using monthly data from 1986 to 2007. We find that Bonds's OPS deviations follow a deterministic trend with two structural breaks. In particular, we find that Bonds's OPS follows a positive trend to the age of 28.9 (June 1993), which coincides closely with the expected peak performance age. Following this, we find that Bonds's OPS was on a plateau until a second break in September 2000. At this point, at the age of 36.1, Bonds's OPS increases unexpectedly and then declines thereafter until his retirement in September 2007 at age 43.

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Five-Year Olds, but Not Chimpanzees, Attempt to Manage Their Reputations

Jan Engelmann, Esther Herrmann & Michael Tomasello
PLoS ONE, October 2012

Abstract:
Virtually all theories of the evolution of cooperation require that cooperators find ways to interact with one another selectively, to the exclusion of cheaters. This means that individuals must make reputational judgments about others as cooperators, based on either direct or indirect evidence. Humans, and possibly other species, add another component to the process: they know that they are being judged by others, and so they adjust their behavior in order to affect those judgments - so-called impression management. Here, we show for the first time that already preschool children engage in such behavior. In an experimental study, 5-year-old human children share more and steal less when they are being watched by a peer than when they are alone. In contrast, chimpanzees behave the same whether they are being watched by a groupmate or not. This species difference suggests that humans' concern for their own self-reputation, and their tendency to manage the impression they are making on others, may be unique to humans among primates.

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Moralization as protection against exploitation: Do individuals without allies moralize more?

Michael Bang Petersen
Evolution and Human Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Over the course of human evolutionary history, individuals have required protection from other individuals who sought to exploit them. Moralization - broadcasting relevant behaviors as immoral - is proposed as a strategy whereby individuals attempt to engage third parties in the protection against exploitation. Whereas previous accounts of strategic morality have focused on the effect of individual differences in mating strategies, we here argue for the importance of another factor: differences in the availability of alternative sources of protection. Given the potential costs of moralization, it is predicted that it is primarily used among individuals lacking protection in the form of social allies. Consistent with this, a large cross-national set of surveys is used to reveal how individuals without friends moralize more. In contrast, however, support from other social sources such as family or religious individuals increases moralization.

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Lying and Team Incentives

Julian Conrads et al.
Journal of Economic Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
We investigate the influence of two popular compensation schemes on subjects inclination to lie by adapting an experimental setup of Fischbacher and Heusi (2008). Lying turns out to be more pronounced under team incentives than under individual piece-rates, which highlights a fairly neglected feature of compensation schemes. Moreover, when disentangling different motives of the more pronounced unethical conduct under team incentives we find that subjects tend to lie more under team incentives because they can diffuse their responsibility, i.e., their deceptive acts cannot unambiguously be attributed to them individually. Our findings are robust even when controlling for individual difference variables. In both compensation schemes subjects who are younger, male, high on Extraversion, and high on Neuroticism tend to lie more.

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Is that the answer you had in mind? The effect of perspective on unethical behavior

Amos Schurr et al.
Judgment and Decision Making, November 2012, Pages 679-688

Abstract:
We explored how the perspective through which individuals view their actions influences their ethicality, comparing a narrow perspective that allows for evaluation of each choice in isolation, to a broad perspective that promotes an aggregate view of one's choices. To examine unethical behavior we employed a computerized variation of a trivia game that challenges the player's integrity because, rather than choosing the correct answer, players indicate whether the correct highlighted answer is the answer they had in mind. In Experiment 1 perspective was modified through the choice procedure: broad perspective evoked by an aggregate decision regarding the upcoming test items and narrow perspective evoked by a segregated decision regarding each upcoming test item. In Experiment 2 perspective was evoked through differential priming. Across both experiments, when given a monetary incentive to succeed, the adoption of a narrow perspective increased cheating, as evidenced by overall higher reported success rates.

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Gender and moral judgments: The role of who is speaking to whom

Anna Milanowicz & Barbara Bokus
Journal of Gender Studies, forthcoming

Abstract:
This paper describes the significance of interpersonal context in the making of moral judgments. The study reveals the dynamics of moral development with regard to gender and age. The article draws on the social comparison orientation (Guimond et al. 2006) and questions Gilligan's (1977) structuralist position. The study focuses on the developmental aspect of morality in children aged between 7 and 12, and it specifies how gender identities are context and social role-specific and their impact on information processing. The study engaged some 240 children who finished incomplete narratives. The basic question concerned the process of solving implicit moral dilemmas and its possible dependence on care orientation (associated with femininity) or justice orientation (associated with masculinity). The analysis showed significant developmental changes with age: girls become more care-oriented but only towards opposite-sex peers, whereas boys become more justice-oriented but also only towards opposite-sex peers. The results of this study suggest, in accordance with Gilligan to some extent, that ‘care' and ‘justice' become naturalized ‘masculine' and ‘feminine' identities. However, in contrast to Gilligan's theory, we observe that these identities develop only in opposition to each other, are social context-specific, and coincide with gender role acceptance in the early teenage years. In other words, the study suggests that in the course of social comparisons, gender becomes an important catalyst for moral conduct.

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The relation between implicit theories of personality and forgiveness

Audrey Ng & Eddie Tong
Personal Relationships, forthcoming

Abstract:
This research examined the effect of implicit theories of personality on interpersonal forgiveness and the mediating mechanism underlying this effect. Two experiments show that incremental personality theorists are less forgiving than entity personality theorists and that this difference can be explained by the incremental theorists' stronger tendency to appraise the transgressor as responsible for causing the hurtful event. The same findings were obtained regardless of whether forgiveness was measured by self-report or assessed as responses to anger words in a latency response task.

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Gut or Game? The Influence of Moral Intuitions on Decisions in Video Games

Sven Joeckel, Nicholas David Bowman & Leyla Dogruel
Media Psychology, Fall 2012, Pages 460-485

Abstract:
Recent theorizing on the role of morality in media entertainment suggests morality serves as a guiding force in audience reactions to content. Using moral foundations theory as a base, research has found significant associations between moral salience and audience preferences for and responses to film and television varying in their presentations of morality. Our study extends this work by testing the same relationship in video games. Because a distinguishing factor between video games and traditional media is interactivity, our study focuses on how moral salience predicts decisions made in a video game. We find that increased moral salience led to a decreased probability of moral violations, while decreased moral salience led to an observed random (50%) distribution of violations. This finding was largely stable across different morality subcultures (German, United States) and age groups (adolescents and elderly), with deviations from this pattern explained by theory. We interpret this as evidence for a gut or game explanation of decision making in video games. When users encounter virtual scenarios that prime their moral sensitivities, they rely on their moral intuitions; otherwise, they make satisficing decisions not as an indication of moral corruption but merely as a continuation of the virtual experience.

By KEVIN LEWIS | 09:00:00 AM