How people make moral decisions: experimental methods in studies of dehumanization and prejudice
On January 21, Ivan Ninenko, former associate Director of NGO "Transparency International - Russia", lecturer at Miami University, took part in the "Culture Matters" research seminar with the a report on "How people make moral decisions: experimental methods in studies of dehumanization and prejudice".
The problem of moral decisions making, that is studied and has been studied by well-known philosophers, today is also under active consideration within sociology and various branches of psychology.
There are two main approaches in the assessment of moral decision making: utilitarian (consequentialism) and deontology. Utilitarian approach focuses on the consequences of the decision, the deontological approach suggests that the moral correctness or incorrectness is inherent to the deed as its nature and cannot be justified by its consequences.
There are several types of thought experiments to consider what moral decisions are made by people, for example the so-called "Trolley problem", "Fat man problem", etc.
The reporter suggested that the utilitarian approach is related to the process of dehumanization and it is necessary to study what and how influences on such decisions.
One possible explanation for the dehumanization is the presence of negative implicit attitudes. There are experiments proving such correlation, for example so-called "Shooter bias" was identified. It can explain the situation when the police in the US mistakenly shoot unarmed blacks more often than whites.
For discussion the reporter raised the issue whether shooter bias is relevant for Russia. Are there any negative implicit attitudes towards migrants from the Caucasus or Central Asia? Is it possible in Russia to apply the American technique of determining shooter bias?