Impaired emotional processing affects moral judgements.

According to New Scientist. Which means people who have problems dealing with emotions (in this study it was due to brain dmamge) make moral judgements different from those made normally.

But didn’t we know this??

In every blockbuster movie, the villian makes unusual moral judgements. And he is also emotionally retarded.

The study uses some of the usual questions of men working on railway tracks. Which are interesting questions, so I’ll describe them for you.

Imagine you are standing at a railway switch. You see a speeding train headed toward a fork in the track. Just beyond the fork stand six workers, five straight ahead and one on the left. If you do nothing, the train will go straight on and kill the five workers. But if you pull the switch, the train will turn left and kill a single worker. Do you pull the switch?

Now imagine a second scenario. You are standing on a bridge above the track. You see a speeding train headed toward five workers on the track. They have no hope of avoiding the car and will surely die. But there’s a fat man next to you who’s big enough to stop the train if he were pushed off the bridge. Of course, he’d die, but the five workers would be saved. Do you push him off the bridge?

Most people will pull the switch, but not push the fatso. Unless they hate fatsos. This is because we often make irrational decisions based on emotions.

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3 Comments

  1. It also may be that most people would rather not go down for murder. Now, do you want to write a Psychology essay for me? It’s worth a creme egg. 😉

    Reply
  2. Naz, write the essay for Rach! I want the creme egg!!

    (heeeheee~~ 😛 kidding)

    Reply
  3. Yasso

     /  27 March, 2007

    Push the fatso! Push the fatso!
    Oh oh! I forgot… I’ve put on some weight…. 😀
    Y?

    Reply

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