Limits...
Moral dilemmas in females: children are more utilitarian than adults.

Bucciarelli M - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: This paper reports two experiments involving fifth-grade children, adolescents, and adults; the results revealed that children reason intuitively to resolve moral dilemmas in which action and inaction lead to different outcomes.In particular, the results showed female children to be more utilitarian than female adults in resolving classical moral dilemmas: they preferred an action that achieved a good outcome for a greater number of people.The result revealing that (female) children are more utilitarian than (female) adults, which is hard to explain via many current theories, was predicted by the mental model theory.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Dipartimento di Psicologia, Centro di Scienza Cognitiva, Università di Torino Torino, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Influential theories on moral judgments propose that they rely either on emotions or on innate moral principles. In contrast, the mental model theory postulates that moral judgments rely on reasoning, either intuition or deliberation. The theory allows for the possibility that intuitions lead to utilitarian judgments. This paper reports two experiments involving fifth-grade children, adolescents, and adults; the results revealed that children reason intuitively to resolve moral dilemmas in which action and inaction lead to different outcomes. In particular, the results showed female children to be more utilitarian than female adults in resolving classical moral dilemmas: they preferred an action that achieved a good outcome for a greater number of people. Within the mental model theory's framework there is no reason to expect that females and males differ in their ability to reason, but at the moment the results for females cannot be generalized to males who were not properly represented in the adults groups of the two experiments. The result revealing that (female) children are more utilitarian than (female) adults, which is hard to explain via many current theories, was predicted by the mental model theory.

No MeSH data available.


The mental models of the possibilities in the anti-permissible (A) and pro-permissible (B) versions of the dilemma. The diagram in each figure represents the alternative possibilities on opposite sides of a continuous line: the possibility in which the action is performed is represented through an explicit model; the alternative possibility, in which the action is not performed, is not represented (implicit models, represented by dots).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4562243&req=5

Figure 1: The mental models of the possibilities in the anti-permissible (A) and pro-permissible (B) versions of the dilemma. The diagram in each figure represents the alternative possibilities on opposite sides of a continuous line: the possibility in which the action is performed is represented through an explicit model; the alternative possibility, in which the action is not performed, is not represented (implicit models, represented by dots).

Mentions: On the contrary, within the proposed mental model account adults but not children should be affected by the experimental manipulation; only individuals capable of deliberative reasoning can be affected by the manipulation. The mental models of the anti-permissible version of the dilemma represent the possibility of one person being killed intentionally by the participant in the experiment, with physical contact with the victim, and the life of the participant in the experiment does not depend on the action being performed (see Figure 1A). The mental models of the pro-permissible version of the dilemma represent the possibility of one person being killed unintentionally, by a third party rather than by the participant in the experiment, without physical contact with the victim, and the life of the participant in the experiment does depend on the action being performed (see Figure 1B).


Moral dilemmas in females: children are more utilitarian than adults.

Bucciarelli M - Front Psychol (2015)

The mental models of the possibilities in the anti-permissible (A) and pro-permissible (B) versions of the dilemma. The diagram in each figure represents the alternative possibilities on opposite sides of a continuous line: the possibility in which the action is performed is represented through an explicit model; the alternative possibility, in which the action is not performed, is not represented (implicit models, represented by dots).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4562243&req=5

Figure 1: The mental models of the possibilities in the anti-permissible (A) and pro-permissible (B) versions of the dilemma. The diagram in each figure represents the alternative possibilities on opposite sides of a continuous line: the possibility in which the action is performed is represented through an explicit model; the alternative possibility, in which the action is not performed, is not represented (implicit models, represented by dots).
Mentions: On the contrary, within the proposed mental model account adults but not children should be affected by the experimental manipulation; only individuals capable of deliberative reasoning can be affected by the manipulation. The mental models of the anti-permissible version of the dilemma represent the possibility of one person being killed intentionally by the participant in the experiment, with physical contact with the victim, and the life of the participant in the experiment does not depend on the action being performed (see Figure 1A). The mental models of the pro-permissible version of the dilemma represent the possibility of one person being killed unintentionally, by a third party rather than by the participant in the experiment, without physical contact with the victim, and the life of the participant in the experiment does depend on the action being performed (see Figure 1B).

Bottom Line: This paper reports two experiments involving fifth-grade children, adolescents, and adults; the results revealed that children reason intuitively to resolve moral dilemmas in which action and inaction lead to different outcomes.In particular, the results showed female children to be more utilitarian than female adults in resolving classical moral dilemmas: they preferred an action that achieved a good outcome for a greater number of people.The result revealing that (female) children are more utilitarian than (female) adults, which is hard to explain via many current theories, was predicted by the mental model theory.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Dipartimento di Psicologia, Centro di Scienza Cognitiva, Università di Torino Torino, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Influential theories on moral judgments propose that they rely either on emotions or on innate moral principles. In contrast, the mental model theory postulates that moral judgments rely on reasoning, either intuition or deliberation. The theory allows for the possibility that intuitions lead to utilitarian judgments. This paper reports two experiments involving fifth-grade children, adolescents, and adults; the results revealed that children reason intuitively to resolve moral dilemmas in which action and inaction lead to different outcomes. In particular, the results showed female children to be more utilitarian than female adults in resolving classical moral dilemmas: they preferred an action that achieved a good outcome for a greater number of people. Within the mental model theory's framework there is no reason to expect that females and males differ in their ability to reason, but at the moment the results for females cannot be generalized to males who were not properly represented in the adults groups of the two experiments. The result revealing that (female) children are more utilitarian than (female) adults, which is hard to explain via many current theories, was predicted by the mental model theory.

No MeSH data available.