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On Second Thoughts (Part II)

1. Ethical judgements are explained by a dual-process theory ...

1.a ... where a faster process is affective, and

1.b less consequentialist than a slower process.

2. The fast process is unlikely to be reliable in unfamiliar* situations.

3. Therefore, we should rely less on the faster (and less consequentlist) process in unfamiliar* situations.

Offered an objection to this in the last lecture.
We will consider this claim
This claim is what Greene calls the Central Tension Principle ...

‘The Central Tension Principle:

Characteristically deontological judgments are preferentially supported by automatic emotional responses processes, while characteristically consequentialist judgments are preferentially supported by conscious reasoning and allied processes of cognitive control’

\citep[p.~699]{greene:2014_pointandshoot}

Greene, 2014 p. 699

content process
deontologicalfast
consequentialslow
impetusfast
Newtonianslow

evidence against fast = nonconsequentialist

‘Submarine (4/60)

You are responsible for the mission of a submarine [...] leading [...] from a control center on the beach. An onboard explosion has [...] collapsed the only access corridor between the upper and lower levels of the ship. [...] water is quickly approaching to the upper level of the ship. If nothing is done, 12 [extreme:60] people in the upper level will be killed.

[...] the only way to save these people is to hit a switch in which case the path of the water to the upper level will be blocked and it will enter the lower level of the submarine instead.

However, you realize that your brother and 3 other people are trapped in the lower level. If you hit the switch, your brother along with the 3 other people in the lower level (who otherwise would survive) will die [...]

Would you hit the switch?’

\citep[][supplementary materials]{bago:2019_intuitive}

Bago & de Neys, 2019 supplementary materials

first response under time pressure and cognitive load

second response under neither

‘Initial and Final Average Percentage (SD) of Utilitarian Responses in Study 1–4’
Note the effect of family pushing people away from consequentialst response

Bago & de Neys, 2019 table 1 (part)

But what does this mean for the Greene et al dual process theory?

First let me go back over the method ...

Stimulus: ethical dilemma [family / no-family] [moderate / extreme ratio]

E.g. a version of trolley problem.
family/no family -- more nonconsequentalist responses when no-family
moderate / extreme ratio : how many people are saved

Initial response under time pressure + cognitive load

Confidence judgement

Solve dot task [end cognitive load task]

Second response: unbounded time + no cognitive load

Confidence judgement

Bago & de Neys, 2019 table 2

First response vs second response.

Bago & de Neys, 2019 table 2

Study 1: lots of consequentialist responses (= U)
Can also compute ‘noncorrection’ rate for those responses whihc ended D (ie. DD/(UD+DD)). In this study it’s 69.3% I.e. proportion of switchers *to* D was higher than proportion of switchers to U!
Study 2: few consequentialist responses (= U) But still reversals are few.
Can also compute ‘noncorrection’ rate for those responses whihc ended D (ie. DD/(UD+DD)). Overall for all studies it’s 84.2% I.e. proportion of switchers *to* D was only 0.4% lower than to U!

‘Our critical finding is that although there were some instances in which deliberate correction occurred, these were the exception rather than the rule. Across the studies, results consistently showed that in the vast majority of cases in which people opt for a [consequentialist] response after deliberation, the [consequentialist] response is already given in the initial phase’

\citep[p.~1794]{bago:2019_intuitive}.

Bago & de Neys, 2019 p. 1794

Objection: consistency effects? No!

‘a potential consistency confound in the two-response paradigm. That is, when people are asked to give two consecutive responses, they might be influenced by a desire to look consistent [...] However, in our one-response pretest we observed 85.4% [...] of [consequentialist] responses on the conflict versions. This is virtually identical to the final [consequentialist] response rate of 84.5% [...] in our main two-response study (see main results).’

faster = less consequentialist?

Suter & Hertwig, 2011 : yes

Bago & de Neys, 2019 : no

‘even if we were to unequivocally establish that [consequentialist] responses take more time than deontological responses, this does not imply that [consequentialist] responders generated the deontological response before arriving at the [consequentialist] one. They might have needed more time to complete the System 2 deliberations without ever having considered the deontological response’

Bago & de Neys, 2019 p. 1783

Evidence for fast = nonconsequentialist

Suter & Hertwig, 2011 figure 1

caption: ‘Fig. 1. Average proportion of deontological responses separately for conditions and type of moral dilemma (high- versus low-conflict personal and impersonal dilemmas) with data combined across the fast (i.e., time- pressure and self-paced-intuition) and slow conditions (no-time-pressure and self-paced-deliberation) in Experiments 1 and 2, respectively. Error bars represent standard errors. Only responses to high-conflict dilemmas differed significantly between the conditions’

‘participants in the time-pressure condition, relative to the no-time-pressure condition, were more likely to give ‘‘no’’ responses in high-conflict dilemmas’

\citep[p.~456]{suter:2011_time}.

faster = less consequentialist?

Suter & Hertwig, 2011 : yes

Bago & de Neys, 2019 : no

How to resolve the apparent contradiction?
possible resolution: preference for inaction under time pressure?
We will take this idea up when considering the CNI model
BUT : if so, why didn’t Bago & de Neys find this?
Puzzle remains IMO

‘even if we were to unequivocally establish that [consequentialist] responses take more time than deontological responses, this does not imply that [consequentialist] responders generated the deontological response before arriving at the [consequentialist] one. They might have needed more time to complete the System 2 deliberations without ever having considered the deontological response’

\citep[p.~1783]{bago:2019_intuitive}.

Bago & de Neys, 2019 p. 1783

This doesn’t make sense to me: Suter & Hertwig, 2011 show more nonconsequentialist judgements under time pressure. If they needed more time, why did they make nonconsequentialist responses?

‘unless you’re prepared to say “yes” to the footbridge case [i.e. Drop], your automatic settings are still running the show, and any manual adjustments that you’re willing to make are at their behest’

\citep[p.~723]{greene:2014_pointandshoot}

Greene, 2014 p. 723

But are they?

1. Ethical judgements are explained by a dual-process theory ...

1.a ... where a faster process is affective, and

1.b less consequentialist than a slower process.

2. The fast process is unlikely to be reliable in unfamiliar* situations.

3. Therefore, we should rely less on the faster (and less consequentlist) process in unfamiliar* situations.

We have been considering this claim, so far inconclusive.