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Global Optimum

Aug 20, 2019

This episode features:

-Are people with autism spectrum disorder more utilitarian?

-Do utilitarian judgments in trolley problems predict interest in effective altruism?

-What is the “identifiable victim effect”

-Why empathy is bad for morality

-Are effective altruists more empathetic than average?  Less empathetic?

-Why do EAs disproportionately study STEM subjects and work in STEM fields?

-Why is EA mostly male?

-Why does gender predict cause preferences?


Full transcript



Apply Psychology:

Baron-Cohen, S., & Wheelwright, S. (2004). The empathy quotient: an investigation of adults with Asperger syndrome or high functioning autism, and normal sex differences. Journal of autism and developmental disorders, 34(2), 163-175. 

Batson, C. D., Klein, T. R., Highberger, L., & Shaw, L. L. (1995). Immorality from empathy-induced altruism: When compassion and justice conflict. Journal of personality and social psychology, 68(6), 1042.

Bloom, P. (2017). Empathy and its discontents. Trends in cognitive sciences, 21(1), 24-31.

Brewer, R., Marsh, A. A., Catmur, C., Cardinale, E. M., Stoycos, S., Cook, R., & Bird, G. (2015). The impact of autism spectrum disorder and alexithymia on judgments of moral acceptability. Journal of abnormal psychology, 124(3), 589. 

Cecchetto, C., Korb, S., Rumiati, R. I., & Aiello, M. (2018). Emotional reactions in moral decision-making are influenced by empathy and alexithymia. Social neuroscience, 13(2), 226-240.

Conway, P., Goldstein-Greenwood, J., Polacek, D., & Greene, J. D. (2018). Sacrificial utilitarian judgments do reflect concern for the greater good: Clarification via process dissociation and the judgments of philosophers. Cognition, 179, 241-265.

Gleichgerrcht, E., Torralva, T., Rattazzi, A., Marenco, V., Roca, M., & Manes, F. (2012). Selective impairment of cognitive empathy for moral judgment in adults with high functioning autism. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience, 8(7), 780-788. 

Gleichgerrcht, E., & Young, L. (2013). Low levels of empathic concern predict utilitarian moral judgment. PloS one, 8(4), e60418.

Greene, J. D. (2015). Beyond point-and-shoot morality: Why cognitive (neuro) science matters for ethics. The Law & Ethics of Human Rights, 9(2), 141-172.

Hein, G., Silani, G., Preuschoff, K., Batson, C. D., & Singer, T. (2010). Neural responses to ingroup and outgroup members' suffering predict individual differences in costly helping. Neuron, 68(1), 149-160. 

Kahane, G. (2015). Sidetracked by trolleys: Why sacrificial moral dilemmas tell us little (or nothing) about utilitarian judgment. Social neuroscience, 10(5), 551-560.

Kahane, G., Everett, J. A., Earp, B. D., Caviola, L., Faber, N. S., Crockett, M. J., & Savulescu, J. (2018). Beyond sacrificial harm: A two-dimensional model of utilitarian psychology. Psychological Review, 125(2), 131. 

Kahane, G., Everett, J. A., Earp, B. D., Farias, M., & Savulescu, J. (2015). ‘Utilitarian’ judgments in sacrificial moral dilemmas do not reflect impartial concern for the greater good. Cognition, 134, 193-209.

Kogut, T., & Ritov, I. (2005). The “identified victim” effect: An identified group, or just a single individual?. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 18(3), 157-167.

Levant, R. F., Hall, R. J., Williams, C. M., & Hasan, N. T. (2009). Gender differences in alexithymia. Psychology of men & masculinity, 10(3), 190.

Patil, I., Melsbach, J., Hennig-Fast, K., & Silani, G. (2016). Divergent roles of autistic and alexithymic traits in utilitarian moral judgments in adults with autism. Scientific reports, 6, 23637.

Patil, I., & Silani, G. (2014). Reduced empathic concern leads to utilitarian moral judgments in trait alexithymia. Frontiers in psychology, 5, 501.

Ruzich, E., Allison, C., Chakrabarti, B., Smith, P., Musto, H., Ring, H., & Baron-Cohen, S. (2015). Sex and STEM occupation predict autism-spectrum quotient (AQ) scores in half a million people. PloS one, 10(10), e0141229.

Singer, P. (2015). The most good you can do: How effective altruism is changing ideas about living ethically. New Haven, CT: Yale University.

Vyas, K., Jameel, L., Bellesi, G., Crawford, S., & Channon, S. (2017). Derailing the trolley: Everyday utilitarian judgments in groups high versus low in psychopathic traits or autistic traits. Psychiatry research, 250, 84-91.

Check This Rec:

Nesse, R. M. (2019). Good reasons for bad feelings: insights from the frontier of evolutionary psychiatry. Penguin.