IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Cultural differences in responses to real-life and hypothetical trolley problems

  • Natalie Gold
  • Andrew M. Colman
  • Briony D. Pulford
Registered author(s):

    Trolley problems have been used in the development of moral theory and the psychological study of moral judgments and behavior. Most of this research has focused on people from the West, with implicit assumptions that moral intuitions should generalize and that moral psychology is universal. However, cultural differences may be associated with differences in moral judgments and behavior. We operationalized a trolley problem in the laboratory, with economic incentives and real-life consequences, and compared British and Chinese samples on moral behavior and judgment. We found that Chinese participants were less willing to sacrifice one person to save five others, and less likely to consider such an action to be right. In a second study using three scenarios, including the standard scenario where lives are threatened by an on-coming train, fewer Chinese than British participants were willing to take action and sacrifice one to save five, and this cultural difference was more pronounced when the consequences were less severe than death.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://journal.sjdm.org/12/121101/jdm121101.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://journal.sjdm.org/12/121101/jdm121101.html
    Download Restriction: no

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

    Volume (Year): 9 (2014)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 65-76

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:9:y:2014:i:1:p:65-76
    Contact details of provider:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Adam B. Moore & N. Y. Louis Lee & Brian A. M. Clark & Andrew R. A. Conway, 2011. "In defense of the personal/impersonal distinction in moral psychology research: Cross-cultural validation of the dual process model of moral judgment," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 6(3), pages 186-195, April.
    2. Gold, Natalie & Pulford, Briony D. & Colman, Andrew M., 2013. "Your Money Or Your Life: Comparing Judgements In Trolley Problems Involving Economic And Emotional Harms, Injury And Death," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(02), pages 213-233, July.
    3. Joseph Henrich & Steve J. Heine & Ara Norenzayan, 2010. "The Weirdest People in the World?," Working Paper Series of the German Council for Social and Economic Data 139, German Council for Social and Economic Data (RatSWD).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:9:y:2014:i:1:p:65-76. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jonathan Baron)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.