PLoS ONE 7 (9):e45457. doi:10.1371/journal.pone (2012)

Authors
Petter Johansson
Lund University
Abstract
Every day, thousands of polls, surveys, and rating scales are employed to elicit the attitudes of humankind. Given the ubiquitous use of these instruments, it seems we ought to have firm answers to what is measured by them, but unfortunately we do not. To help remedy this situation, we present a novel approach to investigate the nature of attitudes. We created a self-transforming paper survey of moral opinions, covering both foundational principles, and current dilemmas hotly debated in the media. This survey used a magic trick to expose participants to a reversal of their previously stated attitudes, allowing us to record whether they were prepared to endorse and argue for the opposite view of what they had stated only moments ago. The result showed that the majority of the reversals remained undetected, and a full 69% of the participants failed to detect at least one of two changes. In addition, participants often constructed coherent and unequivocal arguments supporting the opposite of their original position. These results suggest a dramatic potential for flexibility in our moral attitudes, and indicates a clear role for self-attribution and post-hoc rationalization in attitude formation and change.
Keywords Morality  Moral Attitudes  Survey Design  Survey Validity  Choice Blindness  Confabulation  Introspection  Self-Knowledge  Self-Report  Reasoning
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References found in this work BETA

Why Do Humans Reason? Arguments for an Argumentative Theory.Dan Sperber - 2011 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 34 (2):57.
Abstract.[author unknown] - 2011 - Dialogue and Universalism 21 (4):9-9.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Fragmentation of Belief.Joseph Bendana & Eric Mandelbaum - forthcoming - In Cristina Borgoni, Dirk Kindermann & Andrea Onofri (eds.), The Fragmented Mind. Oxford, UK:
Belief’s minimal rationality.Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (11):3263-3282.

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