address one specific question about each study/task

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Activity. Morality

Read carefully the brief description of each study. Then answer the question that follows this description. Make sure you always justify your points. Your answers will be graded based on how solid and clear your points are (in most cases, there are no right or wrong answers).

1. LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES RELY ON DIFFERENT SETS OF MORAL FOUNDATIONS (Graham, Haidt, & Nosek, 2009, Study 1)

People on the political left (liberal) and political right (conservative) have distinct policy preferences and may also have different moral intuitions and principles.Participants across the ideological spectrum rated whether different concepts such as purity or fairness were relevant for deciding whether something was right or wrong.Items that emphasized concerns of harm or fairness were deemed more relevant for moral judgment by political liberals than conservatives, whereas items that emphasized concerns for the ingroup, authority, or purity were deemed more relevant for moral judgment by political conservatives than political liberals.

Question: What do you think that these findings mean? What do they reveal about the role of culture in deciding whether something is right or wrong?Make sure you justify your points. [Write a minimum of 4-5 sentences]

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Reference: Graham, J., Haidt, J., & Nosek, B. A. (2009). Liberals and conservatives rely on different sets of moral foundations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1029-1046.

2. A DISSOCIATION BETWEEN MORAL JUDGMENTS AND JUSTIFICATIONS (Hauser, Cushman, Young, Kang-Xing & Mikhail, 2007, Scenarios 1+2)

The principle of the double effect suggests that acts that harm others are judged as more morally permissible if the act is a foreseen side effect rather than the means to the greater good.Hauser and colleagues (2007) compared participant reactions to two scenarios to test this principle.In the foreseen side effect scenario, a person on an out-of-control train changes the train’s trajectory but the train kills one person instead of five. In the greater good scenario, a person pushes a fat man in front of a train, killing him, to save five people.While most participants (89%) judged the action in the foreseen side effect scenario as permissible, only a small proportion of participants (11%) judged the action in the greater good scenario as permissible.

Question: What do you think that these findings mean? What do they reveal about how we decide whether something is morally reprehensible or not?Make sure you justify your points. [Write a minimum of 4-5 sentences]

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Reference: Hauser, M., Cushman, F., Young, L., Kang-Xing Jin, R., & Mikhail, J. (2007). A dissociation between moral judgments and justifications. Mind & Language, 22, 1-21.

3. MORAL TYPECASTING: DIVERGENT PERCEPTIONS OF MORAL AGENTS AND MORAL PATIENTS (Gray & Wegner, 2009, Study 1a)

Gray and Wegner (2009) examined the attribution of intentionality and responsibility as a function of perceived moral agency–the ability to direct and control one’s moral decisions.Participants read about an event involving a person high on moral agency (an adult man) and a person low on moral agency (a baby). In one condition, the man knocked over a tray of glasses, resulting in harm to the baby. In the other condition, the baby knocked over the tray of glasses, resulting in harm to the man. Participants then rated the degree to which the person who committed the act was responsible, how intentional the act was, and how much pain was felt by the victim. The adult man was evaluated as more responsible for committing the act than the baby. Likewise, the adult man was rated as acting more intentionally than the baby.Finally, when on the receiving end of the act, the adult man was viewed as feeling less pain compared to a baby.

Question: If we were to run a similar study in various cultures, do you think that we would find similar findings or that the differences between the two conditions would be stronger in some cultures than in others? Make sure you justify your points. [Write a minimum of 4-5 sentences]

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Reference: Gray, K., & Wegner, D. M. (2009). Moral typecasting: divergent perceptions of moral agents and moral patients. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 505-520.

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