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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02194

Influence of self-relevance and reputational concerns on altruistic moral decision making

 Youlong Zhan1,  XIAO XIAO2, Qianbao Tan1, Shangming Zhang1, Yangyi Ou1,  Haibo Zhou1,  Jin Li3 and  Yiping Zhong3*
  • 1Hunan University of Science and Technology, China
  • 2Hunan First Normal University, China
  • 3Hunan Normal University, China

Complex moral decision making may share certain cognitive mechanism with economic decision making under risk situations. However, it is little known about how people weigh gains and losses between self and other during moral decision making under risk situations. The current study adopted the dilemma scenario-priming paradigm to examine how self-relevance and reputational concerns influenced moral decision making. Participants were asked to decide whether they were willing to sacrifice own interests to help the protagonist (friend, acquaintance, or stranger) under the dilemmas of reputational loss risk, while the helping choices, decision times and emotional responses were recorded. In Study 1, participants showed a differential altruistic tendency, indicating that participants took shorter times to make more helping choices and subsequently reported weaker unpleasant experience toward friends compared to acquaintances and strangers. In Study 2, participants still made this egoistically biased altruistic choices under the low reputational loss risk conditions. However, such effect was weakened by the high reputational loss risks. Results suggested that moral principle guiding interpersonal moral decision making observed in our study is best described as an egoistically biased altruism, and that reputational concerns can play a key role in restraining selfish tendency.

Keywords: moral decision making, self-relevance, Reputational concerns, Egoistic, Altruistic

Received: 06 Jul 2019; Accepted: 12 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Zhan, XIAO, Tan, Zhang, Ou, Zhou, Li and Zhong. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Yiping Zhong, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, 410081, Hunan Province, China, ypzhong@hunnu.edu.cn