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Lifting the Veil of Morality: Choice Blindness and Attitude Reversals on a Self-Transforming Survey

Hall, Lars LU ; Johansson, Petter LU and Strandberg, Thomas LU (2012) In PLoS One 7(9).
Abstract
What exactly are opinions? What does it mean to express an attitude? Given the ubiquitous use of surveys, polls and rating scales, it seems we ought to have firm answers to these fundamental questions, but we do not. Here we present a novel approach to investigate the nature of attitudes. We created a self-transforming paper survey of moral opinions, covering both foundational principles, and current dilemmas hotly debated in the media. This survey ‘magically’ exposed participants to a reversal of their previously stated attitudes, allowing us to record whether they were prepared to endorse and argue for the opposite view of what they had stated only moments ago. The result showed that the majority of the reversals remained undetected, and... (More)
What exactly are opinions? What does it mean to express an attitude? Given the ubiquitous use of surveys, polls and rating scales, it seems we ought to have firm answers to these fundamental questions, but we do not. Here we present a novel approach to investigate the nature of attitudes. We created a self-transforming paper survey of moral opinions, covering both foundational principles, and current dilemmas hotly debated in the media. This survey ‘magically’ exposed participants to a reversal of their previously stated attitudes, allowing us to record whether they were prepared to endorse and argue for the opposite view of what they had stated only moments ago. The result showed that the majority of the reversals remained undetected, and a full 69% of the participants failed to detect at least one of two changes. In addition, participants often constructed coherent and unequivocal arguments supporting the opposite of their original position. These results suggest a dramatic potential for flexibility in our moral attitudes, and indicates a clear role for self-attribution and post-hoc rationalization in attitude formation and change. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Choice Blindness, Decision Making, Moral Psychology, Social Psychology, Cognitive Science
in
PLoS One
volume
7
issue
9
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • WOS:000309388400087
  • Scopus:84866536182
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0045457
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
261789cd-c588-4dbd-afeb-f708fae90c52 (old id 3122982)
date added to LUP
2012-10-04 14:58:09
date last changed
2016-10-13 04:35:58
@misc{261789cd-c588-4dbd-afeb-f708fae90c52,
  abstract     = {What exactly are opinions? What does it mean to express an attitude? Given the ubiquitous use of surveys, polls and rating scales, it seems we ought to have firm answers to these fundamental questions, but we do not. Here we present a novel approach to investigate the nature of attitudes. We created a self-transforming paper survey of moral opinions, covering both foundational principles, and current dilemmas hotly debated in the media. This survey ‘magically’ exposed participants to a reversal of their previously stated attitudes, allowing us to record whether they were prepared to endorse and argue for the opposite view of what they had stated only moments ago. The result showed that the majority of the reversals remained undetected, and a full 69% of the participants failed to detect at least one of two changes. In addition, participants often constructed coherent and unequivocal arguments supporting the opposite of their original position. These results suggest a dramatic potential for flexibility in our moral attitudes, and indicates a clear role for self-attribution and post-hoc rationalization in attitude formation and change.},
  author       = {Hall, Lars and Johansson, Petter and Strandberg, Thomas},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  keyword      = {Choice Blindness,Decision Making,Moral Psychology,Social Psychology,Cognitive Science},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {9},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xb51f900)},
  series       = {PLoS One},
  title        = {Lifting the Veil of Morality: Choice Blindness and Attitude Reversals on a Self-Transforming Survey},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045457},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2012},
}