Both in philosophy and in cognitive psychology, models of moral judgment posit that individuals take into account both agents’ intentions and actions’ outcomes. The present research focused on a third crucial piece of information, agents’ negligence. In Study 1, participants judged the moral wrongness and punishability of agents’ actions that resulted in negative side effects. In the scenarios, we orthogonally manipulated whether the agent acted with or without due care and whether she had or did not have information to foresee the negative side effects of her actions. Participants judged careless agents more condemnable than careful agents, especially when negative side effects could have been easily foreseen. In Study 2, we manipulated due care in acting in cases where the agent’s primary intention was to bring about a certain outcome without knowing that such outcome would actually be harmful. Here information about the foreseeability of negative outcomes was not provided, and participants judged actions performed with care more wrong and punishable than actions performed without care. This suggests that sometimes acting carefully and nevertheless causing harm may constitute evidence of the presence of negative intentions in the agents or evidence of the fact that agents indeed could have foreseen the negative effects of their actions. Together, these findings indicate that carefulness in acting and foreseeability are highly intertwined in moral judgment, and highlight the need to improve existing processing models of moral judgment to account for people’s evaluation of agents and actions whenever negligence can be attributed.

Judging accidental harm: Due care and foreseeability of side effects / Margoni, Francesco; Surian, Luca. - In: CURRENT PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 1046-1310. - STAMPA. - 41:12(2022), pp. 8774-8783. [10.1007/s12144-020-01334-7]

Judging accidental harm: Due care and foreseeability of side effects

Surian, Luca
Ultimo
2022-01-01

Abstract

Both in philosophy and in cognitive psychology, models of moral judgment posit that individuals take into account both agents’ intentions and actions’ outcomes. The present research focused on a third crucial piece of information, agents’ negligence. In Study 1, participants judged the moral wrongness and punishability of agents’ actions that resulted in negative side effects. In the scenarios, we orthogonally manipulated whether the agent acted with or without due care and whether she had or did not have information to foresee the negative side effects of her actions. Participants judged careless agents more condemnable than careful agents, especially when negative side effects could have been easily foreseen. In Study 2, we manipulated due care in acting in cases where the agent’s primary intention was to bring about a certain outcome without knowing that such outcome would actually be harmful. Here information about the foreseeability of negative outcomes was not provided, and participants judged actions performed with care more wrong and punishable than actions performed without care. This suggests that sometimes acting carefully and nevertheless causing harm may constitute evidence of the presence of negative intentions in the agents or evidence of the fact that agents indeed could have foreseen the negative effects of their actions. Together, these findings indicate that carefulness in acting and foreseeability are highly intertwined in moral judgment, and highlight the need to improve existing processing models of moral judgment to account for people’s evaluation of agents and actions whenever negligence can be attributed.
2022
12
Margoni, Francesco; Surian, Luca
Judging accidental harm: Due care and foreseeability of side effects / Margoni, Francesco; Surian, Luca. - In: CURRENT PSYCHOLOGY. - ISSN 1046-1310. - STAMPA. - 41:12(2022), pp. 8774-8783. [10.1007/s12144-020-01334-7]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/365404
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