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SITUATIONAL CONTEXT,
PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEF, AND MORAL
CONSTRUCTS:
THEMULTIFACETEDNATURE OF MORAL JUDGMENT
By Jessie Huang
Moral Judgment
Moral Judgment
Real World Moral Dilemmas
Moral Judgment in Psychology
• What sort of factors influence moral judgment?
(Valdesolo & Desteno, 2006)
Moral Judgment in Philosophy
• Moral Responsibility
• To be morally responsible for a behavior is “to be worthy of a parti...
Moral Responsibility & Philosophical Worldviews
•Free Will: The capacity to behave and make choices
that are not necessari...
Existing Research
• Different free will beliefs influence moral behavior
(Vohs & Schooler, 2008)
Current Study: Critical Questions
1. Do different free will beliefs influence moral
judgment?
2. Will moral judgment vary ...
Method: Experimental Manipulation
• “Our actions and thoughts are not simply the
result of prior experiences”
Free Will
Fr...
Procedure: Step 1
Read morally questionable scenario
Euthanasia Cheating
Stealing
Procedure: Step 2
Moral judgment questionnaire
• 1 – 6 scale (higher score = harsher judgment)
Moral
Evaluation
“How moral...
Procedure: Step 3
Complete Free Will and Determinism Questionnaire (FWD-Q)
Predictions
Deterministic Participants
• Judge less harshly overall
• Attribute less moral
responsibility than free will
g...
Manipulation Check
• No effect of manipulation (frame) on reported belief
1. Deterministic/Non Free Will (D-NFW)
2. Non-de...
Results
Scenario x Construct
Results
Moral judgment is…
…strongly affected by situational context
…multifaceted
…influenced very weakly by different free
will ...
Discussion
We replicated…
1. Vohs & Schooler’s (2008) experimental manipulation
2. Correlational studies on FW and moral r...
References
Eshleman, A. (2001, Jan. 6). Moral Responsibility. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-
resp...
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Thesis Presentation

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Thesis Presentation

  1. 1. SITUATIONAL CONTEXT, PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEF, AND MORAL CONSTRUCTS: THEMULTIFACETEDNATURE OF MORAL JUDGMENT By Jessie Huang
  2. 2. Moral Judgment
  3. 3. Moral Judgment
  4. 4. Real World Moral Dilemmas
  5. 5. Moral Judgment in Psychology • What sort of factors influence moral judgment? (Valdesolo & Desteno, 2006)
  6. 6. Moral Judgment in Philosophy • Moral Responsibility • To be morally responsible for a behavior is “to be worthy of a particular kind of reaction [e.g., praise, blame, reward, punishment] for having performed [the behavior]” (Eshleman) Moral Responsibility Moral Judgment
  7. 7. Moral Responsibility & Philosophical Worldviews •Free Will: The capacity to behave and make choices that are not necessarily determined by antecedent events and external factors such as laws of nature •Determinism: Every event is an inevitable consequence of prior conditions and laws of nature (Nichols & Knobe, 2007) •Compatibilism: Free will and determinism can co- exist • Moral responsibility is compatible with a deterministic world
  8. 8. Existing Research • Different free will beliefs influence moral behavior (Vohs & Schooler, 2008)
  9. 9. Current Study: Critical Questions 1. Do different free will beliefs influence moral judgment? 2. Will moral judgment vary by situational context? 3. Will attributions of moral responsibility align with main philosophical views regarding free will and determinism?
  10. 10. Method: Experimental Manipulation • “Our actions and thoughts are not simply the result of prior experiences” Free Will Frame • “Everything a person does is a direct consequence of their environment and genetic makeup” Determinism Frame • “Oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface.” Neutral Frame
  11. 11. Procedure: Step 1 Read morally questionable scenario Euthanasia Cheating Stealing
  12. 12. Procedure: Step 2 Moral judgment questionnaire • 1 – 6 scale (higher score = harsher judgment) Moral Evaluation “How moral was Jim’s behavior”? Scale: Very moral  Very immoral Moral Responsibility “How morally responsible is Jim for his behavior?” Scale: Not at all  Entirely Justification “To what extent did Jim have good reasons for his behavior? Scale: Very good reasons  No good reasons at all Punishment “…If you were on a jury and had to assign one of the following options to Jim, which would you assign?” Scale: No prison time  9-10 years prison time
  13. 13. Procedure: Step 3 Complete Free Will and Determinism Questionnaire (FWD-Q)
  14. 14. Predictions Deterministic Participants • Judge less harshly overall • Attribute less moral responsibility than free will group Free Will Participants • Attribute more moral responsibility than neutral group
  15. 15. Manipulation Check • No effect of manipulation (frame) on reported belief 1. Deterministic/Non Free Will (D-NFW) 2. Non-deterministic/Free Will (ND-FW) 3. Deterministic/Free Will (D-FW) 4. Non-deterministic/Non Free Will (ND- NFW)
  16. 16. Results Scenario x Construct
  17. 17. Results
  18. 18. Moral judgment is… …strongly affected by situational context …multifaceted …influenced very weakly by different free will beliefs
  19. 19. Discussion We replicated… 1. Vohs & Schooler’s (2008) experimental manipulation 2. Correlational studies on FW and moral responsibility (Ogletree & Oberle, 2008) • “People who commit crimes or hurt someone are MR for their behavior and should expect to receive appropriate consequences for their actions” 3. Lower free will belief causes lighter punishment assignment (Shariff et al., forthcoming)
  20. 20. References Eshleman, A. (2001, Jan. 6). Moral Responsibility. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral- responsibility/#RecWorConRes Nichols, S., & Knobe, J. (2007). Moral responsibility and determinism: The cognitive science of folk intuitions. NOUS, 42(4), 663-685. Ogletree, S. M., & Oberle C. D. (2008). The nature, common usage, and implications of free will and determinism. Behavior and Philosophy, (26), 97-111. Shariff, A. et al. (n.d.). Free will and punishment: A mechanistic view of human nature reduces retribution. Forthcoming in Psychological Science. Valdesolo, P., & Desteno, D. (2006). Manipulations of emotional context shape moral judgment. Psychological Science, 17(6), 476-477 Vohs, K. D., & Schooler, J. W. (2008). The value of believing in free will: Encouraging a belief in determinism increases cheating. Psychological Science, 19(1), 49-54.

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