To Beckon or Not to Beckon: Testing a Causal-Evaluative Modelling Approach to Moral Judgment

Moral Judgment
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (Stage 1 Accepted)

Cillian McHugh

University of Limerick

Kathryn B. Francis

Keele Univesity

Jim A. C. Everett

University of Kent

Shane Timmons

Economic and Social Research Institute


November 21, 2022

Moral judgments are increasingly being understood as showing context dependent variability. A growing literature has identified a range of specific contextual factors (e.g., emotions, intentions) that can influence moral judgments in predictable ways. Integrating these diverse influences into a unified approach to understanding moral judgments remains a challenge. Recent work by Railton (2017) attempted to address this with a causal-evaluative modelling approach to moral judgment. In support of this model Railton presents evidence from novel variations of classic trolley type dilemmas. We present results from a pilot study that highlight a significant confound and demonstrate that it likely influenced Railton’s results. Building on this, we propose a pre-registered attempted replication-extension of Railton’s study, using larger more diverse samples, and more rigorous methods and materials, specifically controlling for potential confounds.

This is now published see here, or here