Judgment and Decision Making 11 (4):326-331 (2016)

Authors
Ori Friedman
University of Waterloo
Abstract
We investigated whether the personal importance of objects influences utilitarian decision-making in which damaging property is necessary to produce an overall positive outcome. In Experiment 1, participants judged saving five objects by destroying a sixth object to be less acceptable when the action required destroying the sixth object directly (rather than as a side-effect) and the objects were personally important (rather than unimportant). In Experiment 2, we demonstrated that utilitarian judgments were not influenced by the objects’ monetary worth. Together these findings suggest that personal importance underlies people’s sensitivity to damaging property as a means for utilitarian gains.
Keywords personal importance  value  decision-making  ownership
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Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence, and the Future.John Mikhail - 1912 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 11 (4):143 –152.

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