Daniel Bartels

“Attending to Moral Values”

Coauthor(s): Rumen Iliev, Sonya Sachdeva, Craig Joseph, Satoru Suzuki, Douglas L. Medin.

Editors: Daniel Bartels, Christopher Bauman, Linda Skitka, and Douglas Medin

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Abstract:

There has been an upsurge of interest in moral decision making, which appears to have some distinctive properties. For example, some moral decisions are so strongly influenced by ideas about how sacred entities are to be treated that they seem to be relatively insensitive to the costs and benefits entailed (e.g., "do not allow companies to pollute the earth for a fee, even if pollution credits reduce pollution"). One interpretation of such decisions is that sacred values motivate rigid decision processes that ignore outcomes. This, however, seems paradoxical in that those who are most offended by acts of pollution, for example, likely care more about pollution than others do. Our analysis of the literature on moral decision making (including our own studies) suggests a framework based on a "flexible view," where both actions and outcomes are important, and where attentional processes are intimately involved in how the decision maker conceptualizes the problem, how actions and outcomes are weighted, and how protected values are translated into judgments. We argue that understanding the cognitive processes underlying morally motivated decision making offers one method for solving the puzzle of why such deeply entrenched commitments (the rigid view) vary widely in their expression across contexts (the flexible view).

The PDF above is a preprint version of the chapter published in final form in The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Moral Judgment and Decision Making.

Source: The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Moral Judgment and Decision Making
Exact Citation:
Iliev, Rumen, Sonya Sachdeva, Daniel Bartels, Craig Joseph, Satoru Suzuki, and Douglas L. Medin. "Attending to Moral Values." In The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Moral Judgment and Decision Making, 169-190. Ed. Daniel Bartels, Christopher Bauman, Linda Skitka, and Douglas Medin. San Diego: Elsevier, 2009.
Pages: 169-190
Place: San Diego
Date: 2009