NYU Psychology Researchers New Study CHIVALRY IS NOT DEAD WHEN IT COMES TO MORALITY

The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education, August 2016 | Go to article overview

NYU Psychology Researchers New Study CHIVALRY IS NOT DEAD WHEN IT COMES TO MORALITY


Story courtesy of New York University

Were more likely to sacrifice a man than a woman when it comes to both saving the lives of others and in pursuing our self-interests, a team of psychology researchers has found.

"Our study indicates that we think women's welfare should be preserved over men's," observes Oriel FeldmanHall, a post-doctoral researcher at New York University and the study's lead author.

The research, conducted at Cambridge University's Medical Research Council's Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit and Columbia University, appears in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

In one experiment, study subjects read one of three versions of a "Trolley Dilemma"-a commonly used technique in psychology studies and akin to the "Lifeboat Question" (i.e., if you could save only three of five passengers in a lifeboat, whom would you choose?). In the trolley scenario, subjects read one of three versions of the dilemma where each vignette described a man, woman or gender-neutral bystander on the bridge. The participants were then asked how willing they were to "push the (man/woman/person) onto the path of the oncoming trolley" in order to save five others farther down the track.

The results showed that both female and male subjects were much more likely to push the male bystander or one of unspecified gender than they were the female bystander.

In a second experiment, a new group of subjects was given (about $20) and told that any money they held at the end of the experiment would be multiplied up to tenfold, giving them as much as ($200). However, there was a catch. In the experiment, the subjects interacted with other individuals-the researchers' confederates. The subjects were told that if they decided to keep the money, these individuals would be subjected to mild electric shocks. However, if they gave up the money, it would prevent the shocks from being administrated.

As with the first experiment, women were less likely than men to be subjected to shocks, suggesting an aversion to harming females- even when this came at the subjects' own financial expense. …

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