What is morality? : the effects of emotions on moral decision making
The present study tested the effects of boredom, flow, and anxiety on a moral judgment task. Two competing theories predicted different relationships between emotional state and moral reasoning. The first hypothesis predicted that participants in the anxiety and flow conditions would choose significantly fewer utilitarian responses on moral-personal questions than those in the boredom condition. The second hypothesis predicted that participants in the anxiety and boredom conditions would choose significantly fewer utilitarian responses on moral-personal questions than those in the flow condition. Thirty-six Whitman College students were randomly assigned to one of the three conditions, played two 6-minute rounds of Tetris, and completed a survey which included manipulation checks and a moral judgment task. The results did not conclusively support either hypothesis. However, a significant effect of mood group on moral-personal questions was found, whereby participants in a positive mood state chose fewer utilitarian responses. Implications of the effect of emotional states on moral judgments are discussed.
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