Based on research in psychology, libertine paternalists argue that our mind is systematically flawed, which leads to many cognitive biases that are too deeply entrenched to eradicate through education. Thus, they suggest that authorities should take lead and nudge people into proper behaviors and good decisions. However, from the perspectives of ecological rationality, the outcomes of the so-called cognitive biases may not be bad, and in many instances, can be even better than those of the so-called rational reasoning as suggested by libertine paternalists. We analyze the evidence libertine paternalists use to justify nudging and find two major problems: (1) some of the supposed evidence is the product of researchers’ narrow interpretations of what qualify as human rationality and rational thinking; and (2) some libertine paternalists selectively reported scientific evidence, neglecting or sparsely reporting research that show findings contradictory to their belief. We conclude that there is lack of evidence to support the assertion that people are irrational and almost impossible to educate. To invest on education and make people risk savvy not only has been shown plausible and applicable, but also should be a more sustainable solution than nudging.
Within a framework of “libertarian paternalism”, the idea of nudge promotes the use of behavioral interventions to reduce irrational decisions that may collectively lead to “behavioral market failures” ( Thaler & Sunstein, 2008; Sunstein, 2014). This approach has been criticized, however, for its lack of transparency in behavioral manipulations and for that nudging is not educating. In the current theory of nudging, whether a decision is judged as rational is largely based on a small number of neoclassic standards of expected utility theories under the assumption that all the expected consequences and their probabilities are available to the decision maker.
In this article, the author intends to expand the scope of effective nudging to include decisions under uncertainty where the probabilities associated with decision outcomes are unknown. The author explored behavioral strategies to reduce different types of uncertainty. From this perspective, reducing uncertainty is seen as an important way of behavioral nudging. A key for effective nudges is “less is more”.
Based on an analysis of the “Bertrand Russel’s Turkey”, the author exemplified how probability-based calculations fail in a real world of uncertainty. Next, the author proposed a quintuple classification of uncertainty existing in the following stages of information processing in decision making, including uncertainty in the information source, information acquisition, cognitive evaluation, choice selection, and immediate and future outcomes. The author further examined behavioral and psychological mechanisms that help reduce each type of uncertainty: Reduce information uncertainty using simple heuristics and one-reason decision making, reduce cognitive uncertainty using intuition, reduce behavioral uncertainty by understanding values of decision makers, reduce outcome uncertainty by replacing probability estimates with prioritized decision reference points, and reduce future uncertainty using time-to-time exchanges to decrease delay discounting.
Many decision biases can be better understood in terms of the inconsistency between the modern market environment and the typical human evolutionary environment where behavioral adaptations evolved. Understanding functional reasons underlying decision biases will help improve the quality of human decision making. A new behavioral economics should ask questions of why in functional analysis to find psychological leverages for behavioral nudging.
Increasingly, people are turning to the online donation platform as their preferred means of giving. Thus, determining how donors’ donation intention on the web can be improved has been increasingly emphasized. However, few studies have explored how the option settings of online donation platform affect individuals’ donation behavior. Based on the literature of default effect and marketplace metacognition, we proposed that default amounts (high vs. low) have negative effect on donation intention in an online call-for-donation message. High default amounts (vs. low default amounts) led to lower donation intention, because it triggered individuals’ perceived inference of manipulation. This study also examined the moderating role of individuals’ moral identity in the aforementioned effect.
Four studies were conducted to test the hypotheses. Study 1 was designed to test the main effect of default amounts on donation behavior. Participants were assigned randomly to two conditions (high vs. low amount) in the lab setting. They first read a call-for-donation message that introduced a fictitious donation request (to build libraries) from a fictitious online charitable organization. Four amount options were then presented with ￥12 as default in the high amount condition and ￥5 in the low amount condition. Finally, their donation intentions and actual donation behavior were measured. Study 2 validated the results of Study 1 by conducting a field study among part-time MBA students. In Study 3, we employed a three-group (default option: high-amount vs. low-amount vs. no default) between-subjects design to examine the mediating role of perceived inference of manipulation, while ruling out the potential explanations of reactance and emotions. Study 3 was conducted online using a different donation message. Study 4 examined further the moderating role of individual’s moral identity using a two (default option: high-amount vs. low-amount) × two (moral identity: high vs. low) between-subjects design. Moral identity was manipulated by instructing participants to copy nine moral-related words (vs. ordinary words) twice and write a related story.
In line with our predictions, high default amounts (vs. low default amounts) led to lower donation intention and lower donation amounts, driven by perceived inference of manipulation. This effect was robust by using both student and non-student samples, different call-for-donation messages, and different default amounts. Our results also revealed the significant moderating role of moral identity. The default amount effect was only significant when individuals were primed with low moral identity (vs. high moral identity).
Our findings contribute to literature in several different areas. First, by examining how default amount influences individual’s donation behavior, this research extends the default effect in the donation decision area. Second, our findings shed light on the default effect by exploring the backfire effect and its underlying mechanism of default options. Third, the current research contributes to donation decision literature by proposing that options settings (i.e., default amount) is a meaningful influencing factor that may elicit a negative effect on donation. Finally, we also extend the application of moral consistent theories in default effect research.
The transition to ultra-low level of fertility in China has become a major challenge to its sustainable development. As the population of reproductive-aged women will continue to decline in the upcoming years, enhancing women’s childbearing motivation is important and urgent to avoid further decline of fertility rate. This work is the first attempt to examine the effect of childbearing deadline on women’s childbearing motivation. With socioemotional selectivity theory, life-span theory of control, and previous findings about the ending effect in the field of decision making as basis, this work aims to examine the causal link between women’s childbearing deadline and motivation.
Three studies were conducted in this work. The first study used an online questionnaire to examine the relationship between the time left women perceived before their childbearing deadline and their childbearing motivation. Women who perceive they are closer to their childbearing deadline reported higher childbearing motivation. The second study, which was conducted in laboratory settings, examined the causal effect between these two factors by manipulating women’s perception of optimal childbearing deadline. Participants were randomly assigned to two experimental conditions: limited and extended. Participants who were told that women’s optimal childbearing deadline is 26 fell under the former condition, and those who were told that the deadline is 32 fell under the latter. Participants’ baseline childbearing motivation served as another independent variable. Participants completed an implicit association test with pictures of babies and baby animals served as stimuli. They also completed a brief questionnaire in which they answered three questions concerning their childbearing motivation. An interaction effect between childbearing deadline and baseline childbearing motivation emerged in the reaction time of the implicit association test. Simple effect analyses revealed that participants with higher baseline childbearing motivation showed greater increase in their childbearing motivation compared with those with lower baseline childbearing motivation. Participants in the limited condition showed greater increase in their childbearing motivation compared with those in the extended condition. Participants in studies 1 and 2 were young single women. Study 3 tested this effect among married women who were aged below 40 with one or no child. Half of them were primed with a childbearing deadline, whereas the other half were in the control condition. Participants primed with a childbearing deadline showed greater number of wanted fertility, which further supported the findings in studies 1 and 2. This work marks only the beginning. When and how does childbearing deadline influence women’s childbearing motivation should be further explored.
In recent years, extracurricular classes have always been hot topics of research in areas such as Education, Economics and Sociology. Taking extracurricular classes have become an important part of student lives. There are two types of curricula for students: (1) the enhancement classes which aim to improve the learning abilities and academic performance; (2) the enrichment classes which focus on developing the comprehensive abilities, such as interests and specialties. Recent studies have shown that enrichment classes of various kinds are much more popular than enhancement classes targeted for improvement of academic performances. Primary school students and their parents tend to choose enrichment classes which are more enjoyable than enhance classes which have long-term benefit academically. How can we achieve the balance in choosing between the two types of curricula? Guided by the theoretic framework of the Nudge Effect of the two response options - Accept and Reject, this work explores the task-type effect of accept and reject as different options to influence the selection of different types of classes through three experiments.
Experiment 1 observes the difference in class selection strategy categorized by generations as three groups (students/parents/grand-parents) of different families under the two response options. Experiment 2 observes the difference in class selection strategy by three generations of the same family under the two response options. The design and procedures of the two experiments are similar except participants invited under the laboratory scenario. It adopts a 2 (response options: accept/reject; between-subjects variable) × 2 (curricula types: enhancement classes / enrichment classes; within-subjects variable) × 3 (types of decision makers: primary school students / primary school parents / grandparents; between-subjects variable) mixed design. Results show that (1) people in the parent group tend to select more classes than that of both the student group and the grand-parent group; (2) all three groups tend to select more enrichment classes than academic enhancement classes no matter which response option is used; and (3) when comparing the two response options, all three groups tend to select more number of classes under the reject option. More specifically, under the reject option, people tend to select more enhancement classes relatively than that in the accept option. However, under the reject option, the differences between enrichment classes and enhancement classes are narrowed, which means the selection of enrichment classes and academic enhancement classes are more balanced under the reject option.
Experiment 3 is conducted as a field study to directly talk to people who are submitting applications for extracurricular classes to see whether the use of different response options can indeed influence their decision making on the spot. It adopts a 2 (response options: accept/reject; between-subjects variable) × 2 (curricula types: enhancement classes / enrichment classes; within-subjects variable) mixed design. Consistent with those results of Experiment 1 & 2, Experiment 3 shows that parents tend to select more classes in the rejection response condition than in the acceptance response condition. Participants also tend to select enrichment classes in both response conditions. However, their preference to enhancement classes in the rejection response condition was significantly higher than that in the acceptance response condition. All the three experiments show that the rejection response option has a significant boost to a more balanced selection of primary school parents.
This study successfully proved that the use of the reject option is also applicable to decision making strategies of child education. The result of this work can serve as a direct reference to both educators as well as student families when making choices on extracurricular classes.
Retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) refers to the phenomenon, in which individuals may forget related information during the retrieval process whenever they try to remember something. Studies have shown that “self-reference” is one of the boundary conditions of RIF in the Western cultural context, indicating that RIF is only eliminated when the recalled materials are related to self-concept (known as the “self-referential effect”). In the Chinese culture, however, RIF was observed under the conditions of self-reference and maternal reference. The Mosuo people are raised in a matrilineal society, in which they are familiar with their mothers and aunts to the same extent. Such people consider their aunts and natural mothers as equally important. Conversely, the Han is a patriarchal society that differs considerably from the orientation of the Mosuo’s. This study aimed to explore the influence of the culture and language of the Mosuo and Han on their self-cognition and processing, especially the influence of their aunts on their self-conception.
Tested participants included 131 Mosuo and 126 Han from Yunnan’s Ninglang District. The experiment had a 2 (Nationality: the Mosuo, the Han) × 4 (Conditions: Self-reference, Mother-reference, Aunt-reference, Other-reference) × 3 (Retrieval Factor: Rp+, Rp-, or Nrp items) design. Nationality and condition were manipulated as between-subject factors, and the retrieval factor was manipulated as a within-subject factor. The study had four phases. (1) Study phase: Participants were shown Chinese characters on the monitor, with a series of 32 category exemplars in random order. They were instructed to memorize the exemplars while associating them with the paired category. (2) Retrieval-practice phase: Here, participants were sequentially presented with word-pair forms of eight cues that could probe their memory. Each cue comprised a category name and a first initial character of an exemplar. Participants were asked to recall the target exemplar in the written form in response to each cue. (3) Distractor phase: Participants were requested to perform mathematical operations within three minutes. (4) Final test phase: Participants were required to produce a written recall of as many exemplars as possible in response to each presented category name.
Results indicated that (1) in the Mosuo culture context, RIF was not observed under self-referential, mother-referential, and aunt-referential encoding, and was found only for other-referential encoding, and (2) for Han participants, RIF was observed in the aunt-referential and the other-referential encoding, but not in the self-referential and mother-referential encoding.
The present findings demonstrate that, first, in the Han and Mosuo cultures, self-reference and maternal reference are the key factors that cause RIF. Second, in the Mosuo culture, aunt-reference is another key factor that influences RIF aside from self-reference and maternal reference. Aunts who are integrated in the self-concept of the Mosuo people are also important to such individuals. Finally, (3) language and culture are crucial factors of self-formation and development.
Our ability to process emotional prosody, that is the emotional tone of a speaker, is fundamental to human communication and adaptive behaviours. Very early in development, vocal emotional cues are more critical than facial expressions in guiding infants' behavior. However, the processing of emotional prosody in the very early days of life is still far from clearly understood. It is unclear whether the discrimination between prosodies with different emotional categories is present at birth. Furthermore, it is unknown whether there is a preferential orientation (negativity bias versus positivity preference) in neonates.
Here, we used event-related potentials (ERPs) to examine the ability of neonates (from 1 to 6 days old) to discriminate different types of emotions conveyed by speech prosody. The experiment was conducted in the neonatal ward of Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China. Electroencephalogram recording was carried out when the infants were in a state of active sleep. Using an oddball paradigm, the current study investigated the neural correlates underlying automatic processing of emotional voices of happiness, fear and anger in 18 (Experiment 1) and 29 (Experiment 2) sleeping neonates. In Experiment 1, each category of emotional prosody (20%) was separately mixed into emotionally neutral prosody (80%), forming three blocks with different emotions. In Experiment 2, we not only repeated the procedure of Experiment 1, but also reversed the standard and deviation stimuli in the odd-ball task.
Event-related potential data showed that the frontal scalp distribution (F3 and F4) of the neonatal brain could discriminate happy voices from both angry and fearful voices; the mismatch response (MMR) was larger in response to the deviant stimuli of happiness, compared with the deviant stimuli of anger and fear. However, the latter two stimuli, i.e., angry and fearful voices could not be differentiated. The MMR amplitudes at the other four electrodes, i.e., C3, C4, P3, and P4 did not show significant differences across emotional conditions. Note: the MMR is a prototype of the mismatch negativity, i.e. a preattentive component of the auditory ERP that shows a positive (MMR) or negative (MMN) displacement in response to deviant sounds compared to standard sounds in the oddball paradigm.
The neural responses recorded here indicate very early preference for positive over negative stimuli, which is contrary to the ‘negativity bias’ phenomenon established in the affective prosody literature of adult and infant studies. It is suggest that the range-frequency hypothesis could help to interpret the transformation from the ‘positivity preference’ during the first half year of life to the ‘negativity bias’ later in development. The present finding provides the first neuroelectrophysiological evidence for the hypothesis of positivity preference in neonatal participants. In addition, this special discrimination between positive and negative prosody in early life may provide a foundation for later emotion and social cognition development.
Previous studies have shown that the amount of vocabularies of children with developmental dyslexia is remarkably lower than that of normal children, thus, it becomes one of the primary indicators for discriminating dyslexia in clinical children develop vocabularies at an extremely high rate in primary school, and a conservative estimate shows that approximately one-third of vocabulary growth is acquired by accidental learning in natural reading. The critical process of this way to learn words, is to infer the word meaning by gathering useful sources base on lexical and contextual cues. Chinese developmental dyslexia typically have deficits in the aspects of morphological- and phonological-related processing, we infer they would be less skilled to derive the word meaning by using lexical information. The first experiment is designed to examine the dyslexic children’s performance of novel word learning in reading.
In Experiment 1, the novel words were embedded into eight sentences, each of which provided a context for readers to form a new lexical representation. Three groups of children were selected as participants, including children with developmental dyslexia (DD), the chronological age-matched children (CA), and reading level-matched children (RL). They were instructed to read sentences containing novel words as their eye movements were recorded. The results showed that, reading times on target words gradually reduced with the increasing of learning stages. Children with developmental dyslexia needed more contexts to begin to decrease for the measures of first fixation duration and gaze duration, and showed a slower decline on total fixation time as compared to age-matched and reading level-matched children. It suggests that more contexts are necessary for dyslexic children to learn novel words in reading.
The insertion of spaces between words, has been proven to be an effective way of improving children’s word learning efficiency. In Experiment 2, we examined whether children with dyslexia were more benefit from word spacing in word learning because of their low-level of reading skills. Three groups of children as the same in Experiment 1 were instructed to read sentences in unspaced, and word-spaced formats. The results showed that all children were benefit from word spacing in word learning, and it was more pronounced for children with- than without- dyslexia. We argue that word spacing may allow readers to form a more fully specified representation of the novel word, or to strengthen connections between representations of the constituent characters and the multi-character word.
Our findings provide robust evidence that Chinese children with developmental dyslexia have lower efficiency of word learning in reading, probably this accounts for their less vocabularies in mental lexicon. The findings also have strong implications for educational practice with respect to reading development with dyslexia.
Meta-stereotype threat (MST) refers to an unbalanced cognitive state where a person’s negative beliefs on the stereotype that out-group members hold about their own group are activated. Previous research has shown that the activation of negative meta-stereotypes contributes to social behaviors, but the mechanism of MST effects on aggressive behaviors remains unclear. Migrant children are more susceptible to meta-stereotype compared with dominant groups. However, the influences of negative meta-stereotype on migrant children’s aggressive behaviors have not been thoroughly investigated. Therefore, the current study aims to explore MST effects on migrant children’s aggressive behaviors and the mediated role of frustration between MST and aggressive behaviors. Finally, it attempts to use imagined intergroup contact to examine causes of frustration and identify the negative effects of MST.
As an exploratory study, 60 migrant children were invited to participate in study 1. They were instructed to write adjectives or words that trigger or allay negative meta-stereotypes in accordance with different instructions. Then, they were assigned to complete a balsam pear juice distribution task, which represented aggressive behaviors against local children. Study 2 was improved on the basis of study 1. This study was organized into a 2 (MST condition: activate MST or not) × 2 (attacked aim: local and migrant children) mixed design. A total of 60 migrant children participated in study 2. After writing adjectives, the participants were tasked to complete a test to ensure that meta-stereotype was evoked. Then, a frustration questionnaire and balsam pear juice task among local and migrant children were completed and measured. Study 3 was organized into a 3 (types of imagination: imagined intergroup contact, imagined scenery, and non-imagination) × 2 (attacked aim: local and migrant children) mixed design. First, 95 migrant children were asked to trigger meta-stereotypes and complete the meta-stereotype test. Next, the non-imagination group directly completed the frustration questionnaire and balsam pear juice task, whereas the migrant children of the imagined intergroup contact group imagined positive interaction with local children and the imagined scenery group imagined an outdoor scenery. Then, the two groups completed the questionnaire and balsam pear juice task. T test, ANOVA, and mediation analysis were used to analyze all data.
The following results were observed: (1) Frustration and aggressive behaviors under the MST condition were higher than those in the non-MST condition. (2) The relationship between MST and aggressive behaviors against local children was partly mediated by frustration. (3) The mediated role of frustration was further supported by the results of study 3. Imagined intergroup contact can reduce the aggressive behavior against local children by controlling frustration.
In sum, the results proved that the effects of MST on frustration among migrant children contribute to the increase of aggressive behaviors against local children.
Individuals with high interdependent self-construal generally define themselves as a social role, and assign great values to their social relationships. Social evaluation threat is an important situational factor that induces psychosocial stress. However, it is not known whether individuals with high interdependent self-construal will exhibit more intense stress responses under situations of psychological stress. In addition, social support represents an important factor for the individual’s acceptance by the social group. However, it remains unknown whether social support is effective in coping with the stress responses induced by psychological stress in the high interdependent self-construal individuals. Therefore, the present study sought to investigate: (1) the psychosocial stress response of the high interdependent self-construal individuals; (2) the roles of social support in coping with the psychological stress for high interdependent self-construal individuals. We hypothesized that: (1) the high interdependent self-construal individuals would have greater stress response under psychological stress situations; (2) in the context of social support, individuals with high interdependent self-construal will exhibit lower stress levels.
We selected 60 college students in a University (Chongqing, China) through advertisements. The 60 participants were randomly divided into two groups: the self support-priming group and social support-priming group. The experiences of self support or social support were induced by different primings. A version of the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST) adapted for Chinese was used to induce the acute psychosocial stress. We used salivary cortisol, heart rate and subjective reported stress as indicators of stress. Throughout the course of the experiment, we performed 7 separate measurements of these indices, and evaluated the interdependent self-construal using the self-construal scale.
Using two-way ANOVA with priming as a between-subject variable and time points as a within-subject variable, we discovered a significant effect of the time points: salivary cortisol, F(6, 258) = 15.83, p < 0.001, ηp 2 = 0.269; heart rate, F(7, 301) = 69.15, p < 0.001, ηp 2 = 0.617; subjective reported stress, F(6, 258) = 67.58, p < 0.001, ηp 2 = 0.611. We used the area under the curve with respect to the increase (AUCi) of time points of the three stress indices as the changes in stress levels across the experiment. The independent-sample t-test revealed that the AUCi of the salivary cortisol of the group with social support was significantly lower than that of the self support group: t(43) = 1.95, p = 0.058, d’ = 0.594, 95% CI [-0.022, 1.314]. The AUCg of the heart rate and subjective reported stress showed no significant differences between the two priming groups. Furthermore, we used the AUCi of cortisol to assess changes in stress levels. We conducted linear regression analysis with the AUCi of cortisol as the dependent variable, and priming and interdependent self-construal as the independent variables. The interaction effect of priming and interdependent self-construal was significant: β = -0.27, p = 0.038, ΔR 2 = 0.073, 95% CI [-0.528, -0.016]. We adopted a simple slope test for further analysis. The results indicated that the stress level of high interdependent self-construal individuals who accepted social support were significantly lower than those under self support: β = -0.75, t = -3.59, p < 0.001. In contrast, these differences were not identified in individuals with low interdependent self-construal.
Taken together, consistent with previous reports, the present study found that the individuals with high interdependent self-construal exhibit more intense stress response under the psychosocial stress. Furthermore, we discovered that for individuals with high interdependent self-construal, social support could effectively alleviate their stress response. These results provide an effective stress coping strategy for individuals with high interdependent self-construal.
Today, drug abuse is closely being watched by most of society. It has been found that risky decision-making deficit is one of the main characteristics of drug abuse. Drug abusers are facing increasingly negative consequences in their personal, emotional, professional, and social lives. However, they still prefer to choose immediate reward, and it is difficult for them to make adaptive decisions. Several studies have shown that risky decision-making abilities of heroin addicts are impaired, but few studies have focused on the impact of different levels of monetary reward on risky decision-making for heroin addicts during abstinence and whether such effects are regulated by type of monetary reward. Therefore, this study used the balloon analogue risk task to examine the effects of different levels of hypothetical and real money rewards on risky decision-making in the abstinent heroin user.
Two experiments were included in the study. In Experiment 1, a hypothetical reward was used. however, the participants were asked to imagine the money prizes obtained in the experiment as real money rewards and to obtain as much profit as possible. The results showed that the main effect of the reward magnitude was significant. Post-hoc testing showed the average adjusted pumps (the mean number of pumps for balloons that did not pop) and the total number of popped balloons were significantly less under the 1-cent reward condition compared with the 25-cent reward condition. The main effects of the group were significant, and post-hoc testing showed that the average adjusted pumps and the total number of popped balloons were significantly higher for the abstinent heroin users compared with the non-heroin users. The interaction between the reward magnitude and the group was not significant. Experiment 2 used real rewards. The final rewards of the participants were converted according to their performance in the experimental task. The results showed that the main effect of reward magnitude was marginal significant for the average adjusted pumps and the main effect of the reward magnitude was significant for the total number of popped balloons. Post-hoc testing showed the average adjusted pumps and the total number of popped balloons were significantly higher under the 1-cent reward condition compared with the 25-cent reward condition. The main effects of the group were significant, and post-hoc testing showed that the average adjusted pumps and the total number of popped balloons for the abstinent heroin users were significantly smaller compared with the non-heroin users. The interaction between the reward magnitude and the group was not significant.
The data suggest that risk-taking behavior is modulated by reward type and magnitude of monetary rewards. Overall, participants make more risky decisions on the BART with increased magnitude of hypothetical monetary rewards. However, this trend is completely reversed under the real monetary reward condition. In addition, compared with the non-heroin user, abstinent heroin users make less “optimal” decisions on the BART under the hypothetical monetary reward condition, while they exhibit greater risk aversion on the BART under real monetary rewards condition.
The social intuition model suggests that moral reasoning occurs after moral intuitive judgment. The question of how people make intuitive moral judgments, and whether the process is influenced by reasoning and emotion, remains to be answered. The purpose of this study is to explore the influence of moral relativism and disgust on moral intuitive judgment. According to the unimodel of human judgment, intuitive and deliberate judgments are based on similar rules. The hypotheses are as follows: moral relativism increases moral intuitive judgment (H1) and disgust increases moral intuitive judgment (H2).
We conducted three experiments to test these hypotheses. In Experiment 1, we examined whether moral intuitive judgment exists. A total of 39 undergraduates were selected and asked to answer “yes” or “no” randomly, like tossing a coin, to 20 moral behaviors, 20 immoral behaviors, and 40 fillers. The accuracy of moral judgment is compared to random level (i.e., 0.5). Accuracy greater than 0.5 was considered indicative of moral intuitive judgment. Single-sample t-test showed that the accuracy of the participants’ random responses was significantly greater than random (i.e., 0.5), indicating the existence of moral intuitions.
In Experiment 2, a total of 77 undergraduates were randomly assigned to two different conditions, i.e., moral relativism and moral absolutism. Participants were first primed moral absolutism or moral relativism by scrambling in a sentence, e.g., the scrambled sentence “as to rightness” “cannot” “different types of morality” “be compared” may be recomposed as “Different types of morality cannot be compared as to rightness”, then randomly answer “yes” or “no” to moral judgments. Independent-samples t-test showed that participants were more inclined to make moral intuitive judgments under the conditions of moral absolutism than moral relativism, which suggests that moral relativism weakens participants’ moral intuitive judgment, while moral absolutism promotes participants’ moral intuitive judgment.
In Experiment 3, a total of 80 undergraduates were randomly assigned to two different emotional conditions, i.e., disgust and neutral emotion. Participants’ disgust (or neutral emotion) were primed by eight pictures of disgusting facial expressions (or eight pictures of neutral facial expressions) before randomly answering “yes” or “no” to moral judgments. Independent-sample t-test showed that participants were more inclined to make moral intuitive judgments under the conditions of disgust emotion than neutral emotion, which suggests that moral intuition judgments are affected by emotion, and disgust increases individuals’ moral intuitive judgments.
In sum, the present research investigated the influence of moral relativism and disgust emotion on moral intuitive judgment, which helps to further understand the mechanism of moral intuitive judgment. In addition, it also provides some guidance for the daily moral judgment. The limitations and further research are also discussed.