Based on the dual-process theory of moral judgment, it has been suggested that in Footbridge-type dilemmas the anticipation of the emotional consequences of causing intentional harm might contribute to the decision of rejecting utilitarian resolutions. However, no empirical data have been reported on the emotions felt by participants after their decisions, and the role played by emotions in Trolley-type dilemmas remains to be determined. The present study investigated the specific emotions engaged both after decision choices and after the generation of the counterfactual scenario in Trolley- and Footbridge-type dilemmas. The results support the idea that in Footbridge-type dilemmas decision-making is driven by the attempt to minimize the aversive emotional state evoked by the decision outcome. A greater increase in emotional intensity was found overall for Footbridge-type than Trolley-type dilemmas after the counterfactual generation following typical (non-utilitarian) choices, with guilt, regret, and shame being the emotions that increased most. Critically, in Footbridge-type dilemmas only, typical choices were predicted by the increase in regret intensity experienced after counterfactual generation.

Emotions associated with counterfactual comparisons drive decision-making in Footbridge-type moral dilemmas

TASSO, Alessandra;
2017

Abstract

Based on the dual-process theory of moral judgment, it has been suggested that in Footbridge-type dilemmas the anticipation of the emotional consequences of causing intentional harm might contribute to the decision of rejecting utilitarian resolutions. However, no empirical data have been reported on the emotions felt by participants after their decisions, and the role played by emotions in Trolley-type dilemmas remains to be determined. The present study investigated the specific emotions engaged both after decision choices and after the generation of the counterfactual scenario in Trolley- and Footbridge-type dilemmas. The results support the idea that in Footbridge-type dilemmas decision-making is driven by the attempt to minimize the aversive emotional state evoked by the decision outcome. A greater increase in emotional intensity was found overall for Footbridge-type than Trolley-type dilemmas after the counterfactual generation following typical (non-utilitarian) choices, with guilt, regret, and shame being the emotions that increased most. Critically, in Footbridge-type dilemmas only, typical choices were predicted by the increase in regret intensity experienced after counterfactual generation.
Tasso, Alessandra; Sarlo, Michela; Lotto, Lorella
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11392/2370273
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