When Your Loved One is On the Trolley Track: A Study of Moral Dilemma When Close Relationship is Involved
The present study investigated how Chinese and western people would response to hypothetical and real-life moral dilemmas with different consequences and numbers of victims when the one they care about is involved. We used online surveys to collect responses from both Chinese and western participants, and explored the threshold of how many strangers (or their benefits, depending on the scenarios) people are willing to sacrifice for the benefit of their loved ones. We concluded that people are willing to sacrifice more strangers (or their properties) to save the life (or the properties) of the one they care about, comparing to the amount of strangers they are willing to leave emotionally distressed to make the one they care about avoid being distressed. Chinese participants have higher thresholds than western participants in such situations, and we identified 4 major moral principles behind people’s moral dilemma decisions.
Psychology; Behavioral psychology; Moral dilemma; Real life
Ceci, Stephen John
Thoemmes, Felix J.
M.A., Human Development
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis