Causal deviance and the attribution of moral responsibility

  • Pizarro D
  • Uhlmann E
  • Bloom P
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Abstract

Are current theories of moral responsibility missing a factor in the attribution of blame and praise? Four studies demonstrated that even when cause, intention, and outcome (factors generally assumed to be sufficient for the ascription of moral responsibility) are all present, blame and praise are discounted when the factors are not linked together in the usual manner (i.e., cases of "causal deviance"). Experiment 4 further demonstrates that this effect of causal deviance is driven by intuitive gut feelings of right and wrong, not logical deliberation. © 2003 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.

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Authors

  • David A. Pizarro

  • Eric Uhlmann

  • Paul Bloom

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