By Abigail Marsh
Originally published January 15, 2014
Here is an excerpt:
Cognitive biases include widespread tendencies to view actions that cause harm to others as fundamentally more intentional and blameworthy than identical actions that happen not to result in harm to others, as has been shown by Joshua Knobe and others in investigations of the "side-effect effect", and to view agents who cause harm as fundamentally more capable of intentional and goal-directed behavior than those who incur harm, as has been shown by Kurt Gray and others in investigations of distinction between moral agents and moral patients. These biases dictate that an individual who is predisposed to behavior that harms others as a result of genetic and environmental risk factors will be inherently viewed as more responsible for his or her behaviors than another individual predisposed to behavior that harms himself as a result of similar genetic and environmental risk factors. The tendency to view those who harm others as responsible for their actions, and thus blameworthy, may reflect seemingly evolved tendencies to reinforce social norms by blaming and punishing wrongdoers for their misbehavior.
The entire blog post is here.