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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 13 April 2010, Vol.107(15), pp.6753-8
    Description: When we judge an action as morally right or wrong, we rely on our capacity to infer the actor's mental states (e.g., beliefs, intentions). Here, we test the hypothesis that the right temporoparietal junction (RTPJ), an area involved in mental state reasoning, is necessary for making moral judgments. In two experiments, we used transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to disrupt neural activity in the RTPJ transiently before moral judgment (experiment 1, offline stimulation) and during moral judgment (experiment 2, online stimulation). In both experiments, TMS to the RTPJ led participants to rely less on the actor's mental states. A particularly striking effect occurred for attempted harms (e.g., actors who intended but failed to do harm): Relative to TMS to a control site, TMS to the RTPJ caused participants to judge attempted harms as less morally forbidden and more morally permissible. Thus, interfering with activity in the RTPJ disrupts the capacity to use mental states in moral judgment, especially in the case of attempted harms.
    Keywords: Morals ; Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation ; Magnetic Resonance Imaging -- Methods
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Cognition, 2011, Vol.119(2), pp.166-178
    Description: When we evaluate moral agents, we consider many factors, including whether the agent acted freely, or under duress or coercion. In turn, moral evaluations have been shown to influence our (non-moral) evaluations of these same factors. For example, when we judge an agent to have acted immorally, we are subsequently more likely to judge the agent to have acted freely, not under force. Here, we investigate the cognitive signatures of this effect in interpersonal situations, in which one agent (“forcer”) forces another agent (“forcee”) to act either immorally or morally. The structure of this relationship allowed us to ask questions about both the “forcer” and the “forcee.” Paradoxically, participants judged that the “forcer” forced the “forcee” to act immorally (i.e. X forced Y), but that the “forcee” was not forced to act immorally (i.e. Y was not forced by X). This pattern obtained only for human agents who acted intentionally. Directly changing participants’ focus from one agent to another (forcer versus forcee) also changed the target of moral evaluation and therefore force attributions. The full pattern of judgments may provide a window into motivated moral reasoning and focusing bias more generally; participants may have been motivated to attribute greater force to the immoral forcer and greater freedom to the immoral forcee.
    Keywords: Morality ; Motivated Cognition ; Force ; Focusing ; Counterfactual Thinking ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0010-0277
    E-ISSN: 18737838
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2 April 2013, Vol.110(14), pp.5648-5653
    Description: Intentional harms are typically judged to be morally worse than accidental harms. Distinguishing between intentional harms and accidents depends on the capacity for mental state reasoning (i.e., reasoning about beliefs and intentions), which is supported by a group of brain regions including the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ). Prior research has found that interfering with activity in RTPJ can impair mental state reasoning for moral judgment and that high-functioning individuals with autism spectrum disorders make moral judgments based less on intent information than neurotypical participants. Three experiments, using multivoxel pattern analysis, find that (i) in neurotypical adults, the RTPJ shows reliable and distinct spatial patterns of responses across voxels for intentional vs. accidental harms, and (ii) individual differences in this neural pattern predict differences in participants' moral judgments. These effects are specific to RTPJ. By contrast, (iii) this distinction was absent in adults with autism spectrum disorders. We conclude that multivoxel pattern analysis can detect features of mental state representations (e.g., intent), and that the corresponding neural patterns are behaviorally and clinically relevant.
    Keywords: Philosophy -- Metaphysics -- Philosophy of mind ; Behavioral sciences -- Psychology -- Clinical psychology ; Philosophy -- Metaphysics -- Philosophy of mind ; Health sciences -- Medical diagnosis -- Diagnostic methods ; Behavioral sciences -- Psychology -- Clinical psychology ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Cytology ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Anatomy ; Mathematics -- Applied mathematics -- Statistics ; Behavioral sciences -- Psychology -- Cognitive psychology ; Biological sciences -- Biology -- Neuroscience
    ISSN: 00278424
    E-ISSN: 10916490
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 04 November 2014, Vol.111(44), pp.15687-92
    Description: Five studies across cultures involving 661 American Democrats and Republicans, 995 Israelis, and 1,266 Palestinians provide previously unidentified evidence of a fundamental bias, what we term the "motive attribution asymmetry," driving seemingly intractable human conflict. These studies show that in political and ethnoreligious intergroup conflict, adversaries tend to attribute their own group's aggression to ingroup love more than outgroup hate and to attribute their outgroup's aggression to outgroup hate more than ingroup love. Study 1 demonstrates that American Democrats and Republicans attribute their own party's involvement in conflict to ingroup love more than outgroup hate but attribute the opposing party's involvement to outgroup hate more than ingroup love. Studies 2 and 3 demonstrate this biased attributional pattern for Israelis and Palestinians evaluating their own group and the opposing group's involvement in the current regional conflict. Study 4 demonstrates in an Israeli population that this bias increases beliefs and intentions associated with conflict intractability toward Palestinians. Finally, study 5 demonstrates, in the context of American political conflict, that offering Democrats and Republicans financial incentives for accuracy in evaluating the opposing party can mitigate this bias and its consequences. Although people find it difficult to explain their adversaries' actions in terms of love and affiliation, we suggest that recognizing this attributional bias and how to reduce it can contribute to reducing human conflict on a global scale.
    Keywords: Attribution ; Cognitive Bias ; Ingroup Love ; Intergroup Conflict ; Outgroup Hate ; Conflict (Psychology) ; Hate ; Love
    ISSN: 00223514
    E-ISSN: 1091-6490
    E-ISSN: 19391315
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, September 2016, Vol.42(9), pp.1227-1242
    Description: Why do victims sometimes receive sympathy for their suffering and at other times scorn and blame? Here we show a powerful role for moral values in attitudes toward victims. We measured moral values associated with unconditionally prohibiting harm (“individualizing values”) versus moral values associated with prohibiting behavior that destabilizes groups and relationships (“binding values”: loyalty, obedience to authority, and purity). Increased endorsement of binding values predicted increased ratings of victims as contaminated (Studies 1-4); increased blame and responsibility attributed to victims, increased perceptions of victims’ (versus perpetrators’) behaviors as contributing to the outcome, and decreased focus on perpetrators (Studies 2-3). Patterns persisted controlling for politics, just world beliefs, and right-wing authoritarianism. Experimentally manipulating linguistic focus off of victims and onto perpetrators reduced victim blame. Both binding values and focus modulated victim blame through victim responsibility attributions. Findings indicate the important role of ideology in attitudes toward victims via effects on responsibility attribution.
    Keywords: Attribution ; Morality ; Social Cognition ; Values ; Violence ; Sociology & Social History ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0146-1672
    E-ISSN: 1552-7433
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  • 6
    In: PLoS ONE, 2013, Vol.8(12)
    Description: Prior work has established robust diversity in the extent to which different moral values are endorsed. Some people focus on values related to caring and fairness, whereas others assign additional moral weight to ingroup loyalty, respect for authority and established hierarchies, and purity concerns. Five studies explore associations between endorsement of distinct moral values and a suite of interpersonal orientations: Machiavellianism, prosocial resource distribution, Social Dominance Orientation, and reported likelihood of helping and not helping kin and close friends versus acquaintances and neighbors. We found that Machiavellianism (Studies 1, 3, 4, 5) (e.g., amorality, controlling and status-seeking behaviors) and Social Dominance Orientation (Study 4) were negatively associated with caring values, and positively associated with valuation of authority. Those higher in caring values were more likely to choose prosocial resource distributions (Studies 2, 3, 4) and to report reduced likelihood of failing to help kin/close friends or acquaintances (Study 4). Finally, greater likelihood of helping acquaintances was positively associated with all moral values tested except authority values (Study 4). The current work offers a novel approach to characterizing moral values and reveals a striking divergence between two kinds of moral values in particular: caring values and authority values. Caring values were positively linked with prosociality and negatively associated with Machiavellianism, whereas authority values were positively associated with Machiavellianism and Social Dominance Orientation.
    Keywords: Research Article
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: Psychological Science, January 2012, Vol.23(1), pp.77-85
    Description: People attribute minds to other individuals and make inferences about those individuals’ mental states to explain and predict their behavior. Little is known, however, about whether people also attribute minds to groups and believe that collectives, companies, and corporations can think, have intentions, and make plans. Even less is known about the consequences of these attributions for both groups and group members. We investigated the attribution of mind and responsibility to groups and group members, and we demonstrated that people make a trade-off: The more a group is attributed a group mind, the less members of that group are attributed individual minds. Groups that are judged to have more group mind are also judged to be more cohesive and responsible for their collective actions. These findings have important implications for how people perceive the minds of groups and group members, and for how attributions of mind influence attributions of responsibility to groups and group members.
    Keywords: Groups ; Theory of Mind ; Mind Attribution ; Morality ; Responsibility ; Law ; Social Cognition ; Legal Processes ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0956-7976
    E-ISSN: 1467-9280
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, March 2013, Vol.49(2), pp.302-306
    Description: People disagree about whether “moral facts” are objective facts like mathematical truths (moral realism) or simply products of the human mind (moral antirealism). What is the impact of different meta-ethical views on actual behavior? In Experiment 1, a street canvasser, soliciting donations for a charitable organization dedicated to helping impoverished children, primed passersby with realism or antirealism. Participants primed with realism were twice as likely to be donors, compared to control participants and participants primed with antirealism. In Experiment 2, online participants primed with realism as opposed to antirealism reported being willing to donate more money to a charity of their choice. Considering the existence of non-negotiable moral facts may have raised the stakes and motivated participants to behave better. These results therefore reveal the impact of meta-ethics on everyday decision-making: priming a belief in moral realism improved moral behavior. ► We primed moral realism, the belief that moral facts are like mathematical truths. ► Priming meta-ethical views (realism vs. antirealism) affected actual behavior. ► Priming a belief in moral realism increased charitable giving. ► Moral realism may raise the moral stakes and motivate moral behavior.
    Keywords: Moral Behavior ; Realism ; Decision-Making ; Objectivism ; Priming ; Sociology & Social History ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0022-1031
    E-ISSN: 1096-0465
    Source: ScienceDirect Journals (Elsevier)
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Vol.55, pp.278-283
    Description: Effective social interaction requires people to consider the minds of others. The present research suggests that different motivations systematically elicit attention to different components of mind. Four experiments manipulate either motivation for action prediction (effectance motivation) or motivation for affiliation and ask participants to evaluate the minds of outgroups. Experiments 1–2 feature hypothetical outgroups, while Experiment 3 targets Americans' relationship with China and also demonstrates consequences for moral judgment. Experiment 4 targets Americans' relationship with Iran and demonstrates consequences for moral and dispositional attribution toward groups. The findings reveal that effectance motivation relative to affiliation motivation triggers preferential focus toward (i.e., capacities for planning, thinking, intending), relative to (i.e., capacities for emotion and feeling). These results show that group mind judgments are determined not just by the features of the group but also by the motivations of the perceiver.
    Keywords: Intergroup Conflict ; Group Mind ; Effectance Motivation ; Affiliation ; Theory of Mind ; Sociology & Social History ; Psychology
    ISSN: 0022-1031
    E-ISSN: 1096-0465
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Nov, 2013, Vol.49(6), p.1027(7)
    Description: To link to full-text access for this article, visit this link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2013.07.002 Byline: Adam Waytz, James Dungan, Liane Young Abstract: Whistleblowing - reporting another person's unethical behavior to a third party - often constitutes a conflict between competing moral concerns. Whistleblowing promotes justice and fairness but can also appear disloyal. Five studies demonstrate that a fairness-loyalty tradeoff predicts people's willingness to blow the whistle. Study 1 demonstrates that individual differences in valuing fairness over loyalty predict willingness to report unethical behavior. Studies 2a and 2b demonstrate that experimentally manipulating endorsement of fairness versus loyalty increases willingness to report unethical behavior. Study 3 demonstrates that people recall their decisions to report unethical behavior as driven by valuation of fairness, whereas people recall decisions not to report unethical behavior as driven by valuation of loyalty. Study 4 demonstrates that experimentally manipulating the endorsement of fairness versus loyalty increases whistleblowing in an online marketplace. These findings reveal the psychological determinants of whistleblowing and shed light on factors that encourage or discourage this practice. Article History: Received 4 December 2012; Revised 20 June 2013
    Keywords: Whistleblowing -- Ethical Aspects ; Whistleblowing -- Analysis ; Fairness ; Justice
    ISSN: 0022-1031
    Source: Cengage Learning, Inc.
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