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Dual Process Theories

Start with a simple causal model.
‘response 1’ is a variable representing which response the subject will give. [Which values it takes will depend on what sort of response it is (e.g. a verbal response, proactive gaze, button press.) We can think of it as taking three values, one for correct belief tracking, one for fact tracking, and one for any other response.]
‘process 1’ and ‘process 2’ are variables which each represent whether a certain kind of ethical process will occur and, if so, what it’s outcome is.
And the arrows show that the probability that response 1 will have a certain value is influenced by the value of the variables process 1 and process 2 (and by other things not included in the model). So it should be possible to intervene on the value of ‘process 1’ in order to bring about a change in the value of ‘response 1’.
[I’ve used thicker and thinner arrows informally to indicate stronger and weaker dependence. Strictly speaking the width has no meaning and this model doesn’t specify exactly how the values of variables are related, only that they are.]

Dual Process Theory of Ethical Abilities (core part)

Two (or more) ethical processes are distinct:
the conditions which influence whether they occur,
and which outputs they generate,
do not completely overlap.

Ok, that’s what the theory says. But what does it mean?
Actually we don’t need to consider more than one response for the present since there is no evidence concerning multiple types of response (alas!).
cognitive load study \citep{greene:2008_cognitive}

Answer the dilemma (see handout)

Ask them to read and respond to the dilemma
\subsection{Dilemma}
‘You are part of a group of ecologists who live in a remote stretch of jungle. The entire group, which includes eight children, has been taken hostage by a group of paramilitary terrorists. One of the terrorists takes a liking to you. He informs you that his leader intends to kill you and the rest of the hostages the following morning.
‘He is willing to help you and the children escape, but as an act of good faith he wants you to kill one of your fellow hostages whom he does not like. If you refuse his offer all the hostages including the children and yourself will die. If you accept his offer then the others will die in the morning but you and the eight children will escape.
‘Would you kill one of your fellow hostages in order to escape from the terrorists and save the lives of the eight children?’ \citep{koenigs:2007_damage}

Terminology

‘consequentialist response’ = yes, kill one of your fellow hostages

[For later: \citet{gawronski:2017_consequences}’s criticism about binary choices not properly relfecting the fully range of possibilities (e.g. because a negative answer might reflect a preference for inaction).]

Additional assumptions

One process makes fewer demands on scarce cognitive resources than the other.

(Terminology: fast vs slow)

The slow process is responsible for consequentialist responses; the fast for other responses.

What are ‘consequentialist responses’? Those responses where a moral judgement that would be correct on a simple consequentialist theory.

Prediction: Increasing cognitive load will selectively slow consequentialist responses

Greene et al 2008, figure 1

time pressure study

Additional assumptions

One process makes fewer demands on scarce cognitive resources than the other.

(Terminology: fast vs slow)

The slow process is responsible for consequentialist responses; the fast for other responses.

Prediction: Limiting the time available to make a decision will reduce consequentialist responses.

time pressure study

Trémolière and Bonnefon, 2014 figure 4

‘The model detected a significant effect of time pressure, p = .03 (see Table 1), suggesting that the slope of utilitarian responses was steeper for participants under time pressure. As is visually clear in Figure 4, participants under time pressure gave less utilitarian responses than control par- ticipants to scenarios featuring low kill–save ratios, but reached the same rates of utilitarian responses for the highest kill–save ratios.’ \citep[p.~927]{tremoliere:2014_efficient}
\textbf{*todo*} [save for later, more drama: [also mention \citep{gawronski:2018_effects} p.~1006 ‘reinterpreation’ and p.~992 descriptive vs mechanistsic]] \citet[p.~669]{gawronski:2017_what} argue for an alternative interpretation: The central findings of \citet{tremoliere:2014_efficient} ‘show that outcomes did influence moral judgments, but only when participants were under cognitive load or time pressure (i.e., the white bars do not significantly differ from the gray bars within the low load and no time pressure condi- tions, but they do significantly differ within the high load and time pressure conditions). Thus, a more appro- priate interpretation of these data is that cognitive load and time pressure increased utilitarian responding, which stands in stark contrast to the widespread assumption that utilitarian judgments are the result of effortful cognitive processes (Greene et al., 2008; Suter & Hertwig, 2011).
So this is our dual process theory of ethical abilities.

Dual Process Theory of Ethical Abilities (core part)

Two (or more) ethical processes are distinct:
the conditions which influence whether they occur,
and which outputs they generate,
do not completely overlap.