FEB 8

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9: FEB 8

Assigned

  • Robert Sapolsky, C 13, "Morality" pp. 483-493
  • Haidt, Chapter 4, "Vote for Me (Here's Why)" (23)

Sapolsky. Behave. C 13, 483-493

  • Origins of Social/Moral Intuitions in Babies and Monkeys and Chimps
  • More infant morality:
  • weigh commission more than ommision - infants track commission better than ommission, as in adults.
  • Prosociality - helper puppet studies, (watch previous YouTubes)
  • Punishment - sweets go to helper puppets
  • Tracks secondary punishment - secondary friends study - Babies prefer secondary puppets who were nice to nice puppets and punished bad puppets.
  • Capuchin monkey study (deWaal) - "monkey fairness". (demonstrated also with macaques monkeys, crows, ravens, and dogs), details on 485. google "crows solving puzzles" or "elephants solving puzzles" animals are much more intelligent than we have historically understood. [1] “Inequity aversion”
  • Chimp version of Ultimatum Game - in the deWaal version, chimps tend toward equity unless the proposer can give the token directly to the grape dispensers. 486
  • "other regarding preferences" (Does the animal show awareness of other's preferences?) in monkeys, but not in chimps! Keep this in mind the next time you are thinking about whether to cooperate with a chimp.
  • some evidence of "solidarity" in one inequity study the advantaged monkey (the one who gets grapes) stops working as well.
  • Interesting comment: human morality transcends species boundary. starts before us.
  • Exemptions for testifying against relatives and vmPFC patients who will trade relatives in Trolley situations.
  • vmPFC damaged patient will sacrifice a relative to save four non-relatives.
  • Interesting note about criminal law exemptions.
  • Context: Neuroscience of the Trolley Problem and "Intuition discounting"
  • dlPFC (focused on reasoning) in lever condition and vmPFC (focused on emotional information processing) in bridge condition. Correlation of vmPFC activation with likelihood of not pushing the guy of the bridge.
  • Greene's hypothesis: not so much because it is "up close and personal" as we speculated, but in lever condition the killing of the one is a side-effect. In bridge condition, its because of the killing. Different kinds of intentionality. Ok for most people if you push someone out of the way on your way to the lever. Not intentional killing.
  • Loop condition -- you know you have to kill the person on the side track, should be like bridge condition, but test subjects match lever condition, roughly.
  • Hypothesis: Intuitions are local; heavily discounted for time and space. (Think of other examples of this.) Stories in which your reaction to something changes when you learn where it happens.
  • Related point about proximity - leave money around vs. cokes. Cokes disappear. One step from money and the rationalization is easier. (Also in Ariely research) Singer's pool scenario vs. sending money for absolute poverty relief.
  • Small Group Discussion — Let’s pause here to consider this question: When should we resist “intuition discounting”? In Singer’s pool example? When the harm to the distant person is a “side effect”? How important is consistency (dlPFC) vs emotional distinctions (vmPFC)? Cases:
  • Addressing suffering in your own home town v. Far away
  • Not buying goods from a distant country because of their human rights abuses?
  • Over-riding your vmPFC and pushing the big guy off the bridge?
  • Priming study on cheating involving bankers. 492 - shows "intuition discounting" when primed to think about work identity. more cheating the more primed about "role" - "It's not me"...
  • But this circumstance is different...
  • Under stress subjects make more egoistic, rationalizing judgments regarding emoitonal moral dilemmas.
  • [this is not mentioned in the text, but it is what he is talking about: the Fundamental Attribution Error - neuro-evidence for the Fundamental Attribution Error [2]
  • we judge ourselves by internal motives and others by external actions. Our failings/successes elicit shame/pride others elicit anger and indignation or emulation (envy?). The FAE suggests that we explain our own failures more generously than the failures of others. We offer ourselves excuses (inner lawyer) but are biased toward inferring bad intent from others.

Haidt, Chapter 4, "Vote for Me (Here's Why)"

  • This chapter explores the second part of "Intuitions come first, reasoning second". Point: We are intuitive creatures, but we are also strategic.
  • Introduction
  • Ring of Gyges - Glaucon got it right. Reason is more about seeking justification that impartial truth. Because of that, we might want to "Make sure that everyone's reputation is on the line all the time" (even the babies in the room are keeping track!)
  • Functionalism in psychology applied to morality - What does moral reasoning do for us? Help us find truths or help us pursue socially strategic goals. (Comments?)
  • Tetlock: accountability research
  • Exploratory vs. Confirmatory thought (we’re better at the latter)
  • Conditions promoting exploratory thought (def: evenhanded consideration of alt POVs)
  • 1) knowing ahead of time that you'll be called to account; [so, transparency! I might be a better professor if I know you can see all of my grading.]
  • 2) not knowing what the audience thinks;
  • 3) believing that the audience is well informed and interested in truth or accuracy.
  • Point: We will tend toward confirmatory thought (Hume - Reason a slave of the passions) unless our reputation is at stake (in which case we are more motivated to justify ourselves to others) or we take measures to reign in our tendencies.
  • Section 1: Obsessed with polls
  • Leary's research on self-esteem importance- "sociometer" -- non-conscious level mostly.
  • Section 2: Confirmation bias and exploratory thought
  • Confirmation bias (def: tendency to seek and interp. evidence to confirm our view)
  • Wasson again -- number series
  • Deann Kuhn -- 80: We are horrible at theorizing (requiring exploratory thought)....
  • David Perkins research on reason giving - IQ only predicts ability to generate "my-side" arguments. Interesting criticism of education here!
  • Section 3: We're really good at finding rationalizations for things.
  • More examples of people behaving as Glaucon would have predicted.
  • Members of parliament cheat on their privileges when they know there is no accountability.
  • Plausible deniability - correct change study. Only 20% speak up unless asked, then 60%. (Examples from your experience?)
  • Ariely, matrix-cheating research - Predictably Irrational
  • Section 4: Can I believe it? vs. Must I believe it?
  • When we want to believe something we ask the first question, when we don't want to believe something, we ask the second question.
  • "Motivated reasoning" - 84ff. Test subjects receiving low IQ score browse more articles against IQ tests. Female coffee drinkers find more flaws in studies associating caffeine and breast cancer. Test subjects interpret ambiguous character in direction that gives reward.
  • Section 5: Application to political beliefs: Partisan Brains
  • Does self interest or group affiliation predict policy preferences? Not so much self-interest. We are groupish. (Interesting implications for democracies governed by political parties.)
  • Drew Westen's fMRI research on strongly partisan individuals. We feel threat to dissonant information (like hypocrisy or lying) about our preferred leader, but no threat, or even pleasure, at the problems for the opponent. the partisan brain. Difference in brain activation did not seem to be rational/cog (dlPFC). bit of dopamine after threat passes. (Important point: cog/emo dissonance is painful! -except for good philosophers.)
  • Research suggests that ethicists are not more ethical than others. (89 Schwitzgebel)
  • Mercier and Sperber. Why Do Humans Reason?
  • Good thinking as an emergent property. individual neurons vs. networks. analogy to social intelligence.
  • Statement, 90, on H's view of political life in light of this way of theorizing. read and discuss. Analogy of neuron to brain. Individual to group. Introduce term "social epistemology". What makes us smarter together? What makes us stupider?