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Simulating moral actions: an investigation of personal force in virtual moral dilemmas

Francis, K. B., Terbeck, S., Briazu, R. A., Haines, A., Gummerum, M., Ganis, G. and Howard, I. S. (2017) Simulating moral actions: an investigation of personal force in virtual moral dilemmas. Scientific Reports, 7. 13954. ISSN 2045-2322

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-13909-9

Abstract/Summary

Advances in Virtual Reality (VR) technologies allow the investigation of simulated moral actions in visually immersive environments. Using a robotic manipulandum and an interactive sculpture, we now also incorporate realistic haptic feedback into virtual moral simulations. In two experiments, we found that participants responded with greater utilitarian actions in virtual and haptic environments when compared to traditional questionnaire assessments of moral judgments. In experiment one, when incorporating a robotic manipulandum, we found that the physical power of simulated utilitarian responses (calculated as the product of force and speed) was predicted by individual levels of psychopathy. In experiment two, which integrated an interactive and life-like sculpture of a human into a VR simulation, greater utilitarian actions continued to be observed. Together, these results support a disparity between simulated moral action and moral judgment. Overall this research combines state-of-the-art virtual reality, robotic movement simulations, and realistic human sculptures, to enhance moral paradigms that are often contextually impoverished. As such, this combination provides a better assessment of simulated moral action, and illustrates the embodied nature of morally-relevant actions.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics (CINN)
Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Cognition Research (CCR)
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:73336
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group

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