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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 means of “Yes, it is right” responses to the two versions of the dilemmas by the three groups of participants in Experiment 1.
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Figure 3: The means of “Yes, it is right” responses to the two versions of the dilemmas by the three groups of participants in Experiment 1.

Mentions: Figure 3 presents the means of “Yes, it is right” responses to the two versions of the dilemmas by the three groups of participants. The developmental prediction was also confirmed (Prediction 3): in the anti-permissible version of the dilemmas the production of “permissible” judgments decreased from children, to adolescents to adults (Kruskal-Wallis test: x2 = 41.09, p < 0.001), and the Bonferroni-corrected post-hoc comparisons revealed differences between all the three age groups (p ranging from < 0.02 to < 0.0001). The same result held for the pro-permissible version of the dilemmas: the production of “permissible” judgments decreased from children, to adolescents to adults (Kruskal-Wallis test: x2 = 16.44, p < 0.001) and the Bonferroni-corrected post-hoc comparisons revealed differences between all the three age groups (p ranging from <0.03 to <0.05).


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

Bucciarelli M - Front Psychol (2015)

The means of “Yes, it is right” responses to the two versions of the dilemmas by the three groups of participants in Experiment 1.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: The means of “Yes, it is right” responses to the two versions of the dilemmas by the three groups of participants in Experiment 1.
Mentions: Figure 3 presents the means of “Yes, it is right” responses to the two versions of the dilemmas by the three groups of participants. The developmental prediction was also confirmed (Prediction 3): in the anti-permissible version of the dilemmas the production of “permissible” judgments decreased from children, to adolescents to adults (Kruskal-Wallis test: x2 = 41.09, p < 0.001), and the Bonferroni-corrected post-hoc comparisons revealed differences between all the three age groups (p ranging from < 0.02 to < 0.0001). The same result held for the pro-permissible version of the dilemmas: the production of “permissible” judgments decreased from children, to adolescents to adults (Kruskal-Wallis test: x2 = 16.44, p < 0.001) and the Bonferroni-corrected post-hoc comparisons revealed differences between all the three age groups (p ranging from <0.03 to <0.05).

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.