ERIC Number: EJ792579
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Cognitive Load Selectively Interferes with Utilitarian Moral Judgment
Greene, Joshua D.; Morelli, Sylvia A.; Lowenberg, Kelly; Nystrom, Leigh E.; Cohen, Jonathan D.
Cognition, v107 n3 p1144-1154 Jun 2008
Traditional theories of moral development emphasize the role of controlled cognition in mature moral judgment, while a more recent trend emphasizes intuitive and emotional processes. Here we test a dual-process theory synthesizing these perspectives. More specifically, our theory associates utilitarian moral judgment (approving of harmful actions that maximize good consequences) with controlled cognitive processes and associates non-utilitarian moral judgment with automatic emotional responses. Consistent with this theory, we find that a cognitive load manipulation selectively interferes with utilitarian judgment. This interference effect provides direct evidence for the influence of controlled cognitive processes in moral judgment, and utilitarian moral judgment more specifically.
Descriptors: Value Judgment, Cognitive Processes, Moral Development, Schemata (Cognition), Theories, Intuition, Emotional Response
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A