Ethics and Behavior 30 (3):213-229 (2020)

The present study was aimed at investigating whether and how the explicit representation of the decision outcome, framed in terms of lives saved or lost, could affect decision choices, emotional experience, and decision times in the course of a moral dilemma task. Decision outcomes were framed in a between-group design by means of smiling or injured faces depicting, respectively, the lives saved or lost with each choice. A control condition with no frame and no outcome was included. Results showed that behavioral choices were highly resistant to the framing manipulation in both dilemma types. However, an overall reduction in the number of utilitarian choices and in the decision times, associated with an increase in unpleasantness during decision-making, was found, suggesting a progressive increase in aversive emotional activation favoring the rejection of utilitarian resolutions. Interestingly, at the beginning of the task, the POS group showed a delay in decision times as compared with the NOF group, specifically for footbridge-type dilemmas. This result might be interpreted as an interference effect temporarily slowing decision-making during the resolution of dilemmas in which the internal representation is spontaneously focused on the personal cost of causing intentional harm to others.
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DOI 10.1080/10508422.2019.1607348
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The Secret Joke of Kant’s Soul.Joshua Greene - 2007 - In W. Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.), Moral Psychology, Vol. 3. MIT Press.

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