The aim of the present research was to examine the relationship between social status and social dominance orientation (SDO) in moral decision making. In particular, we were interested in distinguishing between two types of moral judgements: acceptability and legitimacy judgements. We argue that legitimacy judgements are linked to broader (traditionally non-moral) justifications of actions thereby making more room for biases and ideologies to play a role in such judgements, whereas acceptability judgements are influenced less by such broader factors. In both studies, the footbridge sacrificial dilemma was used wherein the status of the moral patient, that is, the person who is sacrificed to save others, was manipulated based on their status and contribution to the society. Participants were randomly allocated to one of these four conditions and answered questions regarding the moral acceptability and/or legitimacy of sacrificing one to save five. In Study 1, as predicted, individuals high in SDO legitimized sacrificing the moral patient of low status more in order to save others compared to the high status moral patient. There were no differences amongst those low in SDO. Furthermore, we found these effects only for moral judgments of legitimacy and not acceptability. In Study 2, we replicated these results demonstrating the interaction of status and ideology in moral judgements of legitimacy compared to acceptability. In Study 3, we show similar trends by manipulating the in-group and outgroup membership of the moral patient. The present research highlights the importance of status, group membership and ideology in moral decision making and the distinction between moral judgements of legitimacy and acceptability.
Seminarium odbędzie się w języku angielskim.