Cognitive Load Selectively Interferes with Utilitarian Moral Judgment

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Cognitive Load Selectively Interferes with Utilitarian Moral Judgment

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Title: Cognitive Load Selectively Interferes with Utilitarian Moral Judgment
Author: Nystrom, Leigh E.; Morelli, Sylvia A.; Cohen, Jonathan; Greene, Joshua; Morelli, Sylvia A.

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Citation: Greene, Joshua D., Sylvia A. Morelli, Kelly Lowenberg, Leigh E. Nvstrom, and Jonathan D. Cohen. 2008. Cognitive load selectively interferes with utilitarian moral judgment. Cognition 107(3): 1144-1154.
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Abstract: Traditional theories of moral development emphasize the role of controlled cognition in mature moral judgment, while a more recent trend emphasizes intuitive and emotional processes. Here we test a dual-process theory synthesizing these perspectives. More specifically, our theory associates utilitarian moral judgment (approving of harmful actions that maximize good consequences) with controlled cognitive processes and associates non-utilitarian moral judgment with automatic emotional responses. Consistent with this theory, we find that a cognitive load manipulation selectively interferes with utilitarian judgment. This interference effect provides direct evidence for the influence of controlled cognitive processes in moral judgment, and utilitarian moral judgment more specifically.
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2007.11.004
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:3124123
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