Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2726330
 


 



Inference of Trustworthiness from Intuitive Moral Judgments


Jim A.C Everett


University of Oxford

David A. Pizarro


Cornell University

Molly J Crockett


University of Oxford

February 23, 2016

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
Moral judgments play a critical role in motivating and enforcing human cooperation. Research on the proximate mechanisms of moral judgments highlights the importance of intuitive, automatic processes in forming such judgments. Intuitive moral judgments often share characteristics with deontological theories in normative ethics, which argue that certain acts (such as killing) are absolutely wrong, regardless of their consequences. Why do moral intuitions typically follow deontological prescriptions, as opposed to those of other ethical theories? Here we test a functional explanation for this phenomenon by investigating whether agents who express deontological moral judgments are more valued as social partners. Across five studies we show that people who make characteristically deontological judgments (as opposed to judgments that align with other ethical traditions) are preferred as social partners, perceived as more moral and trustworthy, and trusted more in economic games. These findings provide empirical support for a partner choice account for why intuitive moral judgments often align with deontological theories.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 58

Keywords: morality, intuition, partner choice, deontological, utilitarian


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Date posted: February 3, 2016 ; Last revised: February 24, 2016

Suggested Citation

Everett, Jim A.C and Pizarro, David A. and Crockett, Molly J, Inference of Trustworthiness from Intuitive Moral Judgments (February 23, 2016). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2726330 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2726330

Contact Information

Jim A.C Everett (Contact Author)
University of Oxford ( email )
South Parks Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 3UD
United Kingdom
David A. Pizarro
Cornell University ( email )
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
Molly J Crockett
University of Oxford ( email )
Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom
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