Cognitive Load And Moral Judgements

My question was simple: Can people make moral judgments just as well when carrying a heavy cognitive load as when carrying a light one? The answer turned out to be yes. I found no difference between conditions, no effect of cognitive load. I tried it again with different stories and got the same outcome. I tried another manipulation: I used a computer program to force some people to answer quickly, before they had time to think, and I forced other people to wait ten seconds before offering their judgment. Surely that manipulation would weaken or strengthen moral reasoning and shift the balance of power, I though. But it didn't.26


26. I conducted these studies with Stephen Stose and Fredrik Bjorklund. I never turned these data into a manuscript because at the time I thought these null findings would be unpublishable.

-- Jonathan Haidt

from "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion"

Quoted on Wed Mar 28th, 2012