Advance
Preprints are early versions of research articles that have not been peer reviewed. They should not be regarded as conclusive and should not be reported in news media as established information.
Malter Kim and Metcalfe Feelings of Culpability Sage Advances 2021.pdf (412.8 kB)
Download file

Feelings of Culpability: Just Following Orders versus Making the Decision Oneself

Download (412.8 kB)
preprint
posted on 26.02.2021, 18:23 by Maayan MalterMaayan Malter, Sonia Kim, Janet Metcalfe

In five experiments (N=1,490), participants were asked to imagine themselves as programmers of self-driving cars who had to decide how to program the car in a potential accident: spare the driver or spare pedestrians. Alternatively, participants imagined they were a mayor, grappling with difficult moral dilemmas concerning COVID-19. Either they, themselves, had to decide how to program the car or which COVID-19 policy to implement (high agency), or they were told by their superior how to act (low agency). After learning that a tragic outcome occurred due to their action, participants reported their felt culpability. Although we expected people to feel less culpable about the outcome if they acted in accordance with their superior's injunction than if they made the decision themselves, participants actually felt more culpable when they followed their superior's order than when they made the decision themselves. Some possible reasons for this counterintuitive finding are discussed.

Funding

NSF 1824193

History

Declaration of conflicts of interest

NA

Corresponding author email

mmalter22@gsb.columbia.edu

Lead author country

United States

Lead author job role

PhD Student

Lead author institution

Columbia Business School, Columbia University

Human Participants

Yes

Ethics statement

IRB Protocol AAAD9781

Comments

Log in to write your comment here...