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Choices between alternatives with moral consequences

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Title: Choices between alternatives with moral consequences


1
Choices between alternatives with moral
consequences
  • Tadeusz Tyszka

2
decision with moral consequences
  • Recently, controllers advised an owner of a
    factory to introduce safety changes because the
    present technical state can be dangerous for
    workers. However, the owner has some financial
    problems. He considers two options (1) to
    introduce the changes immediately or (2) to
    postpone the introduction of changes.
  • In decision problem like this one can distinguish
    two types of consequences.

3
Financial consequences Moral consequences
(1) To introduce changes immediately Increase of costs Avoiding penalty - No harm for workers
(2) To postpone the introduction of changes Saving costs Paying penalty - Possible accident and harm for workers
4
  • Person A faces severe financial problems because
    he has been fired, has large debts and must
    provide for a big family. He finds a wallet on
    the street, containing a substantial sum of
    money. The owners name and address are in the
    wallet. On the other hand, person A can easily
    keep the wallet instead of returning it to the
    owner.

5
Multi-attribute decision problems - Examples
  • Consumer Decisions Choices among alternative
    brands or services
  • Personal Decisions Choices among alternative
    jobs
  • etc.

6
Decision strategies- Compensatory strategy
  • DM (consumer) evaluates alternatives on each
    attribute and compares them to find out whether
    the alternative high on one attribute compensate
    for low ratings on another e.g. trade-off
    between price vs. quality

7
Decision strategies - Lexicographic strategy
  • DM rank order attributes. Select option rated
    highest on most important attribute. If a tie,
    go to the next attribute, etc.

8
Strategy of decision making between alternatives
with moral consequences
  • If a decision-maker places a positive value on
    moral aspects of behavior (i.e., on the
    well-being of others), his utility function may
    be expressed as follows
  • (1-a) us (x) a um (x),
  • where us (x) is the decision-makers own benefit
    accruing from outcome x, um (x) is the utility of
    moral aspects, and a expresses the
    decision-makers concern for moral
    considerations.

9
  • According to this approach, choosing among
    alternatives with moral aspects might be
    considered as a choice from among multi-attribute
    alternatives, where the decision maker trades off
    between material and moral payoffs.

10
  • Montgomery (1983) decision-makers generally
    avoid trade-offs
  • Fiske and Tetlock (1997) taboo trade-offs
  • Baron and Spranca (1997) protected values.

11
  • Adam Smith The poor man must neither defraud nor
    steal from the rich, though the acquisition might
    be much more beneficial to the one than the loss
    could be hurtful to the other.

12
  • Brandstaetter, Gigerenzer Hertwig (2006)
    priority heuristic - specifies (1) the order of
    priority of examining aspects of the situation,
    (2) a stopping rule, determining when to stop
    examining the alternatives, and (3) a decision
    rule, determining which alternative should be
    chosen.

13
Model of choice making
14
General hypothesis
  • When a violation of the norm does not evoke
    strong emotions, the decision-maker will be
    sensitive to the severity and probability of
    decision outcomes, which is consistent with the
    trade-off principle.
  • On the other hand, when a violation of the norm
    evokes strong affect, decision-making will be
    based on arguments different from quantitative
    risk parameters, and therefore, the
    decision-maker will not be sensitive to the
    severity and probability of decision outcomes.

15
Overview of the Studies
  • The purpose of Study 1 to identify scenarios for
    which the violation of moral norms evokes weaker
    versus stronger negative emotions.
  • In Study 2 we examined how people solve the
    conflict between moral values and economic
    self-interest, under stronger vs. weaker affect
    evoked by the violation of a moral norm.

16
Study 1
  • Strength of moral Emotions

17
  • Four scenarios
  • Scenario A Wallet
  • Scenario B Safety
  • Scenario C Product
  • Scenario D Bribe

18
Scenario C Product
  • Person C manages a soft-drink company. He has
    discovered that a large batch of drinks is
    slightly contaminated and can be harmful to
    consumer health. However, in the event of an
    inspection the contamination will be very hard to
    detect. If C decides not to sell the drinks, the
    company will lose substantial money, so he weighs
    whether to sell the drinks.

19
Scenario D Bribe
  • Person D is a policeman on routine patrol. He
    has stopped a driver who seems to have drunk some
    alcohol. The tipsy driver asks the policeman to
    treat him leniently and let him go. The driver
    also offers money in return. Policeman D
    considers whether to accept the money offered by
    the tipsy driver and let him go.

20
Method
  • The participants task to indicate their
    affective reactions to the immoral behaviors
    described in the scenarios.

21
first group
  • imagine that you were engaged in the scenarios
    - evaluate how much guilt, shame or embarrassment
    you would feel.
  • separate scales, ranging from 0 (none) to 100
    (very strong), at intervals of 5 points.

22
second group
  • imagine that you had observed the immoral
    behavior of other person - evaluate how much
    anger, disgust and contempt you would feel.
  • separate scales, ranging from 0 (none) to 100
    (very strong), at intervals of 5 points.

23
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24
  • Thus, i we identified two groups of scenarios
    where violating the norm evoked weaker versus
    stronger negative moral emotions (both
    self-oriented and others-oriented)

25
Study 2
  • Moral emotions and moral choices

26
Question
  • how people resolve conflicts between moral
    sentiments and economic self-interest?

27
hypothesis
  • the crucial factor determining decision strategy
    in choices between alternatives with moral
    consequences is the strength of negative emotions
    evoked by violating the moral norm involved in a
    situation.

28
method
  • The 8 x 2 x 2 between-subjects factorial design
    was used, with two levels of probability and two
    levels of magnitude of adverse financial outcomes
    (penalties)

29
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31
Conclusions
  • First, people were more sensitive to changes in
    the values of outcomes and probabilities, and
    their response times were longer, in purely
    economic choices than in decisions associated
    with moral concerns.

32
Research questions
  • when violating moral norms evokes strong emotions
    ?
  • decision making under strong vs. weak moral
    emotions

33
when violating moral norm evokes strong emotions
?
  • actions vs.omissions
  • personal vs. impersonal
  • categories associated with an affective tag
    (dangerous driving vs. careless driving)

34
  • Does the incidental emotions lead to the same
    effects as integral (immoral act) emotions?
  • Eg. Evaluation of tax evasion under anger or
    disgust.

35
  • Cross-cultural differences
  • in affective reactions to violating moral norms
  • in consequentialistic vs. deontologic position in
    moral judgment.

36
decision making under strong vs. weak moral
emotions
  • decision making under strong vs. weak moral
    emotions testing the model of moral choice
    making.

37
Methods
  • Apart of tdecision time, Active Information
    Search Technique can be used
  • E.g. when violating moral norm evokes strong
    emotions, limited information seeking should
    takes place.
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