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Anticipatory stress interferes with utilitarian moral judgment

  • Katrin Starcke
  • Anne-Catrin Ludwig
  • Matthias Brand
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    A recent study indicates that acute stress affects moral decision making (Youssef et al., in press). The current study examines whether results can be replicated using a different kind of stressor and a different kind of stress measurement. We induced stress in 25 participants with a cover-story of an anticipated speech. Another group of 25 participants was tested in a control condition. Stress levels and stress responses were assessed with questionnaires and heart rate. All participants performed a moral decision-making task describing moral dilemmas. These dilemmas were either personal or impersonal and each offered a utilitarian and a non-utilitarian option. Acutely stressed participants, compared to control participants, made fewer utilitarian judgments and needed longer for making a decision. Individual physiological stress response was related to fewer utilitarian judgments. Results are in line with those previously found although different instruments were used.

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    Article provided by Society for Judgment and Decision Making in its journal Judgment and Decision Making.

    Volume (Year): 7 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 61-68

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    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:7:y:2012:i:1:p:61-68
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