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Simulating Murder: The Aversion to Harmful Action

Simulating Murder: The Aversion to Harmful Action Diverse lines of evidence point to a basic human aversion to physically harming others. First, we demonstrate that unwillingness to endorse harm in a moral dilemma is predicted by individual differences in aversive reactivity, as indexed by peripheral vasoconstriction. Next, we tested the specific factors that elicit the aversive response to harm. Participants performed actions such as discharging a fake gun into the face of the experimenter, fully informed that the actions were pretend and harmless. These simulated harmful actions increased peripheral vasoconstriction significantly more than did witnessing pretend harmful actions or to performing metabolically matched nonharmful actions. This suggests that the aversion to harmful actions extends beyond empathic concern for victim harm. Together, these studies demonstrate a link between the body and moral decision-making processes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Emotion American Psychological Association

Simulating Murder: The Aversion to Harmful Action

Emotion , Volume 12 (1): 6 – Feb 12, 2012

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References (35)

Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 American Psychological Association
ISSN
1528-3542
eISSN
1931-1516
DOI
10.1037/a0025071
pmid
21910540
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Diverse lines of evidence point to a basic human aversion to physically harming others. First, we demonstrate that unwillingness to endorse harm in a moral dilemma is predicted by individual differences in aversive reactivity, as indexed by peripheral vasoconstriction. Next, we tested the specific factors that elicit the aversive response to harm. Participants performed actions such as discharging a fake gun into the face of the experimenter, fully informed that the actions were pretend and harmless. These simulated harmful actions increased peripheral vasoconstriction significantly more than did witnessing pretend harmful actions or to performing metabolically matched nonharmful actions. This suggests that the aversion to harmful actions extends beyond empathic concern for victim harm. Together, these studies demonstrate a link between the body and moral decision-making processes.

Journal

EmotionAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Feb 12, 2012

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