Recent theorizing about the cognitive underpinnings of dilemmatic moral judgment has equated slow, deliberative thinking with the utilitarian disposition and fast, automatic thinking with the deontological disposition. However, evidence for the reflective utilitarian hypothesis—the hypothesized link between utilitarian judgment and individual differences in the capacity for rational reflection has been inconsistent and difficult to interpret in light of several design flaws. In two studies aimed at addressing some of the flaws, we found robust evidence for a reflective minimalist hypothesis—high CRT (...) performers’ tendency to regard utility-optimizing acts as largely a matter of personal prerogative, permissible both to perform and to leave undone. This relationship between CRT and the “minimalist” orientation remained intact after controlling for age, sex, trait affect, social desirability, and educational attainment. No significant association was found between CRT and the strict utilitarian response pattern or CRT and the strict deontological response pattern, nor did we find any significant association between CRT and willingness to act in the utility-optimizing manner. However, we found an inverse association between empathic concern and a willingness to act in the utility-optimizing manner, but there was no comparable association between empathic concern and the deontological judgment pattern. Theoretical, methodological, and normative implications of the findings are discussed. (shrink)
College students and suburban residents completed questionnaires designed to examine the tendency of scientific explanations of undesirable behaviors to mitigate perceived culpability. In vignettes relating behaviors to an explanatory antecedent, we manipulated the uniformity of the behavior given the antecedent, the responsiveness of the behavior to deterrence, and the explanatory antecedent-type offered- physiological (e.g., a chemical imbalance) or experiential (e.g., abusive parents). Physiological explanations had a greater tendency to exonerate actors than did experiential explanations. The effects of uniformity and deterrence (...) were smaller, and the latter had a significant effect on judgment only when physiological rather than experiential antecedents were specified. Physiologically explained behavior was more likely to be characterized as "automatic", and willpower and character were less likely to be cited as relevant to the behavior. Physiological explanations of undesirable behavior may mitigate blame by inviting nonteleological causal attributions. Keywords: person perception, volition, moral attribution, responsibility. (shrink)
Because suppression of sex has been and is at the core of puritanical morals, a proper account thereof would need to explain why suppression of sex has been largely directed towards the human female. Not only do the authors not account for this pattern, but their general model would seem to predict the reverse – that is, greater suppression/control of the male libido.