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Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas
dicalxpress.com ^ | September 30, 2011 | no byline

Posted on 10/01/2011 1:04:23 PM PDT by ransomnote

A study conducted by Daniel Bartels, Columbia Business School, Marketing, and David Pizarro, Cornell University, Psychology found that people who endorse actions consistent with an ethic of utilitarianism—the view that what is the morally right thing to do is whatever produces the best overall consequences—tend to possess psychopathic and Machiavellian personality traits.

n the study, Bartels and Pizarro gave participants a set of moral dilemmas widely used by behavioral scientists who study morality, like the following: "A runaway trolley is about to run over and kill five people, and you are standing on a footbridge next to a large stranger; your body is too light to stop the train, but if you push the stranger onto the tracks, killing him, you will save the five people. Would you push the man?" Participants also completed a set of three personality scales: one for assessing psychopathic traits in a non-clinical sample, one that assessed Machiavellian traits, and one that assessed whether participants believed that life was meaningful. Bartels and Pizarro found a strong link between utilitarian responses to these dilemmas (e.g., approving the killing of an innocent person to save the others) and personality styles that were psychopathic, Machiavellian or tended to view life as meaningless.

These results (which recently appeared in the journal Cognition) raise questions for psychological theories of moral judgment that equate utilitarian responses with optimal morality, and treat non-utilitarian responses as moral "mistakes". The issue, for these theories, is that these results would lead to the counterintuitive conclusion that those who are "optimal" moral decision makers (i.e., who are likely to favor utilitarian solutions) are also those who possess a set of traits that many would consider prototypically immoral (e.g., the emotional callousness and manipulative nature of psychopathy and Machiavellianism).

(Excerpt) Read more at medicalxpress.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: antisocial; clintonlegacy; moral; personality

1 posted on 10/01/2011 1:04:32 PM PDT by ransomnote
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To: administrator

Admin,
I botched the source name - I typed “dicalxpress.com”
when in fact it is medicalxpress.com. Can you repair this?


2 posted on 10/01/2011 1:07:26 PM PDT by ransomnote
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To: ransomnote

I need more information.Could the large stranger possibly be Michael Moore?


3 posted on 10/01/2011 1:09:18 PM PDT by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: ransomnote

If the size differential between me and ther other is sufficient is large enough that I can’t save lives by stepping in front of a moving train, but he could if I pushed him, I doubt I could physically push him.

Maybe if I threw a box of doughnuts on the track or something...


4 posted on 10/01/2011 1:13:36 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: Farmer Dean
I need more information.Could the large stranger possibly be Michael Moore?

C'mon, no fair. . .that joke wrote itself (you beat me by 30 seconds!)

5 posted on 10/01/2011 1:17:31 PM PDT by McBuff
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To: McBuff

Also works with Al Gore.


6 posted on 10/01/2011 1:21:40 PM PDT by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: ransomnote

Our whole society’s main worldview is machievellian or narciessitic, psychopathic. Not tooting our horn, but it is true that the only people that do not hold these views are Christian influences. -J.S.


7 posted on 10/01/2011 1:27:04 PM PDT by JSDude1 (December 18, 2010 the Day the radical homosexual left declared WAR on the US Military.)
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To: JSDude1

I was thinking of Obamacare when I read it, and the latest article from UK saying that drugs should not be given to cancer patients to extend life.

I was in a graduate level ethics class with about 13 other people. We were told that (and apparently this is true) there was a volcano in Japan that people would flock to visit. Unfortunately, suicidal people would flock to visit it as well and these were often distraught young people.Some people visiting hoped to be present when a suicidal person threw themselves into the volcano. The volcano was on an island and had to be accessed by boat. The government placed people on the docks to look for troubled individuals and screen them in order to try to prevent suicides. Up at the edge of the crater - a few of the tourists would playfully urge ‘come on up! there’s plenty of room for you!’ to those whom they believed wished to throw themselves into the volcano. After the prof had discussed the place that suicide held in the Japanese culture (more often seen as an act of preserving honor) we were asked if we would interfere with someone or try to stop someone in this situation from trying to kill themselves.
I recall the out and out hatred directed at me because I said I would try to stop them and was among those who felt that the boat tours should be halted to the volcano as long as suicides continued. I was told this honor suicide system works for the Japanese society - it has a role and plays a function that supports their heritage in a healthy, stable manner etc. I was told by a white woman that I was a racist if I thought I should impose my own white western values on others etc.
I have been told many times in the past, when referencing my christian faith to make such decisions that I am pathetic and soft and unthinking. It’s odd that those who hold the utilitarian view are passionless in the defense of human life but rage filled in the attack of those who would wish to preserve it. There’s a disproportionate response going on there.


8 posted on 10/01/2011 1:45:12 PM PDT by ransomnote
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To: Farmer Dean

Michael Moore doesn’t count because it wouldn’t really be a moral dilemma.


9 posted on 10/01/2011 1:51:06 PM PDT by BufordP
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To: ransomnote
I'm rooting for the para-military unionized police officer to make the decision which will always be right. I suspect the big guy mentioned will somehow stop the run away trolly car and the five people will be heroically rescued.

Film at 11.

10 posted on 10/01/2011 1:52:24 PM PDT by Zuben Elgenubi
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To: BufordP

That was my point.


11 posted on 10/01/2011 1:56:10 PM PDT by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: ransomnote
The example is not a moral dilemma at all.

Your actions will certainly kill the big man. The runaway trolley is a random act of a kind that can happen to anyone. No human can predict the consequences of his failing to act. He can predict the consequences of his actions in the example and thus is morally responsible for such actions.

12 posted on 10/01/2011 2:02:34 PM PDT by NoControllingLegalAuthority (Where is the middle ground on insolvency of the United States government?)
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To: JSDude1
I think you're right about that. Elizabeth Anscombe noted back in 1958 that ALL academic ethics (as taught in Philosophy texts) is based on "consequentialism" (she was the originator of this term), meaning that no act of any sort can be termed "immoral" ---murder,rape, slavery, abortion, sodomy, torture, massacre --- if the perpetrator hopes to gain something by it, which is sufficiently "good."

Anscombe herself was a Catholic and recognized God as moral law-giver. For a while she was working on a concept called "Virtue Ethics," based on Natural Law via Aristotle. But it's hard, maybe impossible, for "Virtue Ethics" to answer the very first question that comes up: why be virtuous? Why NOT be a self-centered jerk? Why NOT be cruel?

I don't think anybody has devised any ethical system that effectively replaces God.

Of course there are ethical atheists and agnostics; but whether they are conscious of it or not, they are living off the (dwindling) capital of a post-Judeo-Christian civilization.

13 posted on 10/01/2011 2:04:38 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (In theory. there's no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is. -Yogi Berra)
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To: JSDude1
I think you're right about that. Elizabeth Anscombe noted back in 1958 that ALL academic ethics (as taught in Philosophy texts) is based on "consequentialism" (she was the originator of this term), meaning that no act of any sort can be termed "immoral" ---murder,rape, slavery, abortion, sodomy, torture, massacre --- if the perpetrator hopes to gain something by it, which is sufficiently "good."

Anscombe herself was a Catholic and recognized God as moral law-giver. For a while she was working on a concept called "Virtue Ethics," based on Natural Law via Aristotle. But it's hard, maybe impossible, for "Virtue Ethics" to answer the very first question that comes up: why be virtuous? Why NOT be a self-centered jerk? Why NOT be cruel?

I don't think anybody has devised any ethical system that effectively replaces God.

Of course there are ethical atheists and agnostics; but whether they are conscious of it or not, they are living off the (dwindling) capital of a post-Judeo-Christian civilization.

14 posted on 10/01/2011 2:04:52 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (In theory. there's no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is. -Yogi Berra)
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To: Jonty30
Of course, but what would you eat for breakfast?

Obviously your moral concern for saving human life is counterintuitive to the idea of dining well as soon as possible ~ hence the box of donuts you just happened to have.

You are also OFF THE MORAL HOOK. It's up to the HUGE person next to you to leap out on to the track and grab the donuts. If he does, he stops the train and everybody but him lives, and you live on GUILT FREE. If he doesn't the train runs down the other 5 and you are out your donuts ~ which would have happened in either case.

But, again, you survive GUILT FREE.

Sociopathic personality types don't worry about GUILT. So, you're good.

15 posted on 10/01/2011 2:11:02 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: ransomnote
A runaway trolley is about to run over and kill five people, and you are standing on a footbridge next to a large stranger; your body is too light to stop the train, but if you push the stranger onto the tracks, killing him, you will save the five people. Would you push the man?"

The only thing you know is that by pushing the large man in front of the trolley you will kill him.How do you know that action will really save the five people on the trolley? Is the large man Chris Christie and are the five passengers Dems? May I have a few hours to think about this?

16 posted on 10/01/2011 2:14:29 PM PDT by COUNTrecount (Barry...above his poi grade.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o
"Of course there are ethical atheists and agnostics; but whether they are conscious of it or not, they are living off the (dwindling) capital of a post-Judeo-Christian civilization. "

How much longer before the capital is all gone?

17 posted on 10/01/2011 2:21:47 PM PDT by Liberty Wins
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To: ransomnote

I don’t want to tangle with a guy who’s big enough to stop a train


18 posted on 10/01/2011 2:25:33 PM PDT by MattAMiller
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To: Jonty30
If the size differential between me and the other is sufficient is large enough that I can’t save lives by stepping in front of a moving train, but he could if I pushed him, I doubt I could physically push him.

It would depend on if anyone was watching...

Kidding, I can not conceive of a situation where it would it would occur to someone that you could stop a train by pushing someone on the tracks. That is such a dumb idea it would only occur to a dimocrat!

Regards,
GtG

19 posted on 10/01/2011 2:40:34 PM PDT by Gandalf_The_Gray (I live in my own little world, I like it 'cuz they know me here.)
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To: AdmSmith; AnonymousConservative; Berosus; bigheadfred; Bockscar; ColdOne; Convert from ECUSA; ...

Thanks ransomnote.
...people who endorse actions consistent with an ethic of utilitarianism -- the view that what is the morally right thing to do is whatever produces the best overall consequences -- tend to possess psychopathic and Machiavellian personality traits.
I wholeheartedly agree.

BTW, we need to annihilate Islam.

Looks like irony, but it ain't. This study will remain out of the "so-called" category so long as Obamacare, the (non-)Stimulus, and (money laundering disguised as so-called) green jobs are seen as utilitarianism.


20 posted on 10/01/2011 2:42:21 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (It's never a bad time to FReep this link -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: ransomnote

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2786484/posts ~ a good example of the phenomenon this thread discusses. Now, how did these guys get out of med school?


21 posted on 10/01/2011 2:43:11 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: ransomnote
A runaway trolley is about to run over and kill five people, and you are standing on a footbridge next to a large stranger; your body is too light to stop the train, but if you push the stranger onto the tracks, killing him, you will save the five people. Would you push the man?"

What if the fat guy next to me weighs more than the total weight of all five people on the tracks?

22 posted on 10/01/2011 2:47:20 PM PDT by Age of Reason
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To: Liberty Wins

I give ‘em another 20 minutes.


23 posted on 10/01/2011 3:09:15 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (In theory. there's no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is. -Yogi Berra)
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To: muawiyah; Gandalf_The_Gray; SunkenCiv; ransomnote; Jonty30

“Stop eyeing my donuts and DO SOMETHING”


24 posted on 10/01/2011 3:35:29 PM PDT by bigheadfred (But alas)
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To: ransomnote
I was told by a white woman that I was a racist if I thought I should impose my own white western values on others etc.

Back then, I would have loved to ask such dingbats if they thought it was OK to impose American values of anti-racism on South Africa, and if so, why?

The Left is a big advocate for imposing values, as long as they are the Left's values.

25 posted on 10/01/2011 3:45:48 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (When you've only heard lies your entire life, the truth sounds insane.)
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To: bigheadfred

*push. :D


26 posted on 10/01/2011 3:47:17 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: Jonty30

AND RISK MY DONUTS????? They have a word for people like you that are so insensitive, uncaring, unfeeling...


27 posted on 10/01/2011 3:51:04 PM PDT by bigheadfred (But alas)
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To: bigheadfred

Don’t use your donuts to divide the population into sprinkles and chocolate covered, you Liberal.

We are one! We are donut eaters!


28 posted on 10/01/2011 3:55:45 PM PDT by Jonty30
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To: ransomnote

Bizarre. But I am not a Christian, and I would try to stop them too... simply because I know that what young people consider an unbearable situation is usually something much less dramatic than they think. They’ll look back on it wryly later in life... if they survive.


29 posted on 10/01/2011 4:09:05 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: ransomnote

Psychobabble. Limit the choices to two? Living in a black and white world there. Didn’t the Coen brothers make a movie out of this....FRIED GREEN TOMATOES FOR OLD MEN?


30 posted on 10/01/2011 6:44:41 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: ransomnote

God bless you for the persecution you suffered in this class (even though we both know it pales in comparision to some under persecution for standing up for their faith like the pastor in Iran).

You are right, because WE both know that if these people were to die, they’d end up in hell-it would be irresponsible (and sick and twisted) ~not~ to try to stop! them. J.S.


31 posted on 10/02/2011 1:33:40 PM PDT by JSDude1 (December 18, 2010 the Day the radical homosexual left declared WAR on the US Military.)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

We’ve all sinned (an “ethical athiest”, or an ethical “christan”, buddist, etc) does not exist. Only Jesus is good-and only He can give His nature to someone to change them; they cannot become “ethical” on their own.

J.S.


32 posted on 10/02/2011 1:35:57 PM PDT by JSDude1 (December 18, 2010 the Day the radical homosexual left declared WAR on the US Military.)
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To: JSDude1
I think were referring to different definitions of the word "ethical." "Ethical" does not mean "sinless," it just means having ands adhering toa code of right and wrong. An ethical atheist (e.g. my late father) could be honest, patient, faithful to his wife and good to his children, just in his dealings, humble in his demeanor, and indebted (whether he knows it or not) to a standard of behavior he inherited from his own Christian parents and his (mostly) Christian culture.

His parents, and that culture, are long gone.

God alone is the source of all goodness. And I'm pretty sure my father came to Jesus before he died.

33 posted on 10/02/2011 4:35:12 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o (What does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, to love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God)
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