Universals and variations in moral decisions made in 42 countries by 70,000 participants

Edmond Awad, Sohan Dsouza, Azim Shariff, Iyad Rahwan, and Jean-François Bonnefon


We report the largest cross-cultural study of moral preferences in sacrificial dilemmas, that is, the circumstances under which people find it acceptable to sacrifice one life to save several. On the basis of 70,000 responses to three dilemmas, collected in 10 languages and 42 countries, we document a universal qualitative pattern of preferences together with substantial country-level variations in the strength of these preferences. In particular, we document a strong association between low relational mobility (where people are more cautious about not alienating their current social partners) and the tendency to reject sacrifices for the greater good—which may be explained by the positive social signal sent by such a rejection. We make our dataset publicly available for researchers.



Source: www.pnas.org