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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How Large Is the Role of Emotion in Judgments of Moral Dilemmas?

Horne Z, Powell D (2016)
PLoS ONE 11(7): e0154780.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154780


Moral dilemmas often pose dramatic and gut-wrenching emotional choices. It is now widely
accepted that emotions are not simply experienced alongside people’s judgments about
moral dilemmas, but that our affective processes play a central role in determining those
judgments. However, much of the evidence purporting to demonstrate the connection
between people’s emotional responses and their judgments about moral dilemmas has
recently been called into question. In the present studies, we reexamined the role of emotion
in people’s judgments about moral dilemmas using a validated self-report measure of
emotion. We measured participants’ specific emotional responses to moral dilemmas and,
although we found that moral dilemmas evoked strong emotional responses, we found that
these responses were only weakly correlated with participants’ moral judgments. We argue
that the purportedly strong connection between emotion and judgments of moral dilemmas
may have been overestimated.

The article is here.