A New Set of Moral Dilemmas: Norms for Moral Acceptability, Decision Times, and Emotional Salience



At the present time, the growing interest in the topic of moral judgment highlights the widespread need for a standardized set of experimental stimuli. We provide normative data for a sample of 120 undergraduate students using a new set of 60 moral dilemmas that might be employed in future studies according to specific research needs. Thirty dilemmas were structured to be similar to the Footbridge dilemma (“instrumental” dilemmas, in which the death of one person is a means to save more people), and thirty dilemmas were designed to be similar to the Trolley dilemma (“incidental” dilemmas, in which the death of one person is a foreseen but unintended consequence of the action aimed at saving more people). Besides type of dilemma, risk-involvement was also manipulated: the main character's life was at risk in half of the instrumental dilemmas and in half of the incidental dilemmas. We provide normative values for the following variables: (i) rates of participants' responses (yes/no) to the proposed resolution; (ii) decision times; (iii) ratings of moral acceptability; and (iv) ratings of emotional valence (pleasantness/unpleasantness) and arousal (activation/calm) experienced during decision making. For most of the dependent variables investigated, we observed significant main effects of type of dilemma and risk-involvement in both subject and item analyses. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.