Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism for animals, Kantianism for people? Harming animals and humans for the greater good

Most people hold that it is wrong to sacrifice some humans to save a greater number of humans. Do people also think that it is wrong to sacrifice some animals to save a greater number of animals, or do they answer such questions about harm to animals …

Switching Tracks? Towards a Multidimensional Model of Utilitarian Psychology

Sacrificial moral dilemmas are widely used to investigate when, how, and why people make judgments that are consistent with utilitarianism. But to what extent can responses to sacrificial dilemmas shed light on utilitarian decision making? We …

Moral Person Perception

How do different kinds of moral judgments people make influence how we perceive others? In what contexts will we prefer different kinds of moral agents? What are the philosophical implications of this?

Utilitarian Moral Judgments

What are the psychological roots of utilitarianism? Why does utilitarianism attract some people but strongly repel so many others? What are the psychological processes, personality correlates, and social consequences of decisions in different kinds of utilitarian moral judgments?

Priming intuition disfavors instrumental harm but not impartial beneficence

Understanding the cognitive underpinnings of moral judgment is one of most pressing problems in psychological science. Some highly-cited studies suggest that reliance on intuition decreases utilitarian (expected welfare maximizing) judgments in …

The costs of being consequentialist: Social inference from instrumental harm and impartial beneficence

Previous work has demonstrated that people are more likely to trust “deontological” agents who reject harming one person to save many others than “consequentialist” agents who endorse such instrumental harms, which could explain the higher prevalence …

Beyond Sacrificial Harm: A Two-Dimensional Model of Utilitarian Psychology

Recent research has relied on trolley-type sacrificial moral dilemmas to study utilitarian versus nonutilitarian modes of moral decision-making. This research has generated important insights into people's attitudes toward instrumental harm-that is, …

Inference of trustworthiness from intuitive moral judgments

Moral judgments play a critical role in motivating and enforcing human cooperation, and research on the proximate mechanisms of moral judgments highlights the importance of intuitive, automatic processes in forming such judgments. Intuitive moral …

'Utilitarian' judgments in sacrificial dilemmas do not reflect impartial concern for the greater good

A growing body of research has focused on so-called ‘utilitarian’ judgments in moral dilemmas in which participants have to choose whether to sacrifice one person in order to save the lives of a greater number. However, the relation between such …