Moral Judgment: Truth, Order and Consequence


Often we make snap moral judgments based on limited information. For instance upon reading a newspaper headline we very quickly decide on whether the implied outcome is good or bad. However, in situations like this we are also likely to revise our judgments when we read the main story and the conclusion of the article. One question yet to be answered is whether we adjust our moral judgments in a systematic way as we gain more details about a moral scenario. Two experiments (lab-based, online) addressed this question along with the influence of other factors on moral judgments (the origin of the moral scenario, the severity of the consequence of the scenario). Across both experiments, moral judgments were: 1) generally adjusted downwards as more information was presented; 2) more severe for headlines than the main story or the conclusion; 3) more severe for scenarios that were fabricated than real life stories; 4) more severe when the conclusion involved a severe consequence than a non-severe consequence.

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Osman, M. (2015). Moral Judgment: Truth, Order and Consequence. Psychology, 6, 633-642. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.65061.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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