Moral Decisions and Testosterone: When the Ends Justify the Means

Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 668-671, 2010

15 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2011

See all articles by Dana Rose Carney

Dana Rose Carney

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business

Malia Mason

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Management

Date Written: July 2010

Abstract

Behavioral endocrinology research suggests that testosterone may play a role in moral decision making. Studies involving human and nonhuman animals indicate that high basal testosterone is associated with decreased aversion to risk and an increased threshold for conflict, fear, stress, and threat. We tested the role of testosterone in moral decision making. We predicted and found that individuals high in testosterone are more likely to make utilitarian decisions—specifically when doing so involves acts of aggression and social cost.

Keywords: decision making, morality, testosterone, trolley problem

Suggested Citation

Carney, Dana Rose and Mason, Malia, Moral Decisions and Testosterone: When the Ends Justify the Means (July 2010). Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, Vol. 46, No. 4, pp. 668-671, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1951640

Dana Rose Carney

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Malia Mason (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Columbia Business School, Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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