Uncover the secret of the cynicism of youth

A group of researchers from the Institute of psychology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Harvard University have figured out how moral principles depend on the country of residence, age, gender, education level and other factors. For this, the researchers conducted a survey in four States — Russia, USA, Canada and UK.


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All study participants were offered a variety of moral dilemmas involving not a unique solution. For example, the choice could be to save man, thus condemning to death many others, be allowed to die alone, without endangering a large number of other people. In some cases one of the options was meant to do something, while the other scenario required only of non-interference. As it turned out, in some aspects the vast majority of survey participants converged on a single opinion, but some differences, indirectly due to age or geographical boundaries, discovered was.

In General, participants from all countries considered largely acceptable from a moral point of view, the inaction that leads to negative consequences than action aimed at causing someone harm. The situation, which meant saving one person meant unintentional damage to another, in General, are seen more gently than deliberately cause harm to one person in the name of helping another.

According to the researchers, some differences are still observed. In particular, young people are much more often the other was ready to sacrifice the life of one person to save five. Also this decision was more typical for men from the USA, Canada and the UK than for women and Russians of both sexes.

Experts have published their research in the journal of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

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