Document Detail


For Whom Do the Ends Justify the Means? Social Class and Utilitarian Moral Judgment.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23276265     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Though scholars have speculated for centuries on links between individuals' social class standing and approach to moral reasoning, little systematic research exists on how class and morality are associated. Here, we investigate whether the tendency of upper-class individuals to exhibit reduced empathy makes them more likely to resist intuitionist options in moral dilemmas, instead favoring utilitarian choices that maximize the greatest good for the greatest number. In Study 1, upper-class participants were more likely than lower-class participants to choose the utilitarian option in the footbridge dilemma, which evokes relatively strong moral intuitions, but not in the standard trolley dilemma, which evokes relatively weak moral intuitions. In Study 2, upper-class participants were more likely to take resources from one person to benefit several others in an allocation task, and this association was explained by their lower empathy for the person whose resources were taken. Finally, in Study 3, the association between social class and utilitarian judgment was reduced in a condition in which empathy was induced, but not in a control condition, suggesting that reduced empathy helps account for the utilitarianism of upper-class individuals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Authors:
Stéphane Côté; Paul K Piff; Robb Willer
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-12-31
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of personality and social psychology     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1939-1315     ISO Abbreviation:  J Pers Soc Psychol     Publication Date:  2012 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2013-1-1     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0014171     Medline TA:  J Pers Soc Psychol     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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