.Back to listing

Thu, Sep 11

Scientists used smartphones to test morality in the real world

We’d all like to think that morality is cut and dry. But the truth is that many factors come into play when determining what each individual’s morality rests upon. Conservatives, for instance, tend to hold loyalty and purity in the highest regard, whereas liberals are more likely to base moral acts on caring and fairness. Yet, the only reason we know that these trends exist is because scientists tested various scenarios in controlled, laboratory settings to see how various groups of people react.

But a new study published today in Science has taken morality research out of the lab and into the streets, which means that we finally have an idea of how often humans encounter morally relevant situations and dilemmas in their every day lives. And, as it turns out, there’s a lot more moral overlap between various groups — religious or nonreligious, for instance — than researchers previously thought.

Read more from Arielle Duhaime-Ross at The Verge.