The impact of the Digital Age in Moral Judgments


Nowadays, several of the situations in which we have to make decisions are in digital form. In a first experiment (N=1010) we showed that people’s moral judgments depend on the Digital Context (Smartphone vs. PC) in which a dilemma is presented, becoming more utilitarian (vs. deontological) when using Smartphones. To provide additional evidence, we ran a second (N=250) and a third experiment (N=300), where we introduced time constraints and we manipulated time instructions. Our results provide an extended perspective on Dual-Process Models of Moral Judgment, as we showed that the use of smartphones, often assumed to be hurried which would be consistent with gut-feeling decision-making, increased the likelihood of utilitarian responses and decreased deontological ones. This is the first study to look at the impact of the digital age on moral judgments and the results presented have consequences for understanding moral choice in our increasingly virtualized world.

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