• Situational factors shape moral judgments in the trolley dilemma in Eastern, Southern, and Western countries in a culturally diverse sample

      Bago, Bence; Kovacs, Marton; Protzko, John; Nagy, Tamas; Kekecs, Zoltan; Palfi, Bence; Adamkovič, Matúš; Adamus, Sylwia; Albalooshi, Sumaya; Albayrak-Aydemir, Nihan; et al. (Nature Research, 2022-04-14)
      The study of moral judgements often centers on moral dilemmas in which options consistent with deontological perspectives (i.e., emphasizing rules, individual rights, and duties) are in conflict with options consistent with utilitarian judgements (i.e., following the greater good based on consequences). Greene et al. (2009) showed that psychological and situational factors (e.g., the intent of the agent or the presence of physical contact between the agent and the victim) can play an important role in moral dilemma judgements (e.g., trolley problem). Our knowledge is limited concerning both the universality of these effects outside the United States and the impact of culture on the situational and psychological factors of moral judgements. Thus, we empirically tested the universality of the effects of intent and personal force on moral dilemma judgements by replicating the experiments of Greene et al. in 45 countries from all inhabited continents. We found that personal force and its interaction with intention, exert influence on moral judgements in the US and Western cultural clusters, replicating and expanding the original findings. Moreover, the personal force effect was present in all cultural clusters, suggesting it is culturally universal. The evidence for the cultural universality of the interaction effect was inconclusive in the Eastern and Southern cultural clusters (depending on exclusion criteria). We found no strong association between collectivism/individualism and moral dilemma judgements.
    • Tears Evoke the Intention to Offer Social Support: A Systematic Investigation of the Interpersonal Effects of Emotional Crying Across 41 Countries

      Zickfeld, Janis H.; van de Ven, Niels; Pich, Olivia; Schubert, Thomas W.; Berkessel, Jana B.; Pizarro, José J.; Bhushan, Braj; Mateo, Nino Jose; Barbosa, Sergio; Sharman, Leah; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-04-13)
      Tearful crying is a ubiquitous and likely uniquely human phenomenon. Scholars have argued that emotional tears serve an attachment function: Tears are thought to act as a social glue by evoking social support intentions. Initial experimental studies supported this proposition across several methodologies, but these were conducted almost exclusively on participants from North America and Europe, resulting in limited generalizability. This project examined the tears-social support intentions effect and possible mediating and moderating variables in a fully pre-registered study across 7,007 participants (24,886 ratings) and 41 countries spanning all populated continents. Participants were presented with four pictures out of 100 possible targets with or without digitally-added tears. We confirmed the main prediction that seeing a tearful individual elicits the intention to support, d = .49 [.43, .55]. Our data suggest that this effect could be mediated by perceiving the crying target as warmer and more helpless, feeling more connected, as well as feeling more empathic concern for the crier, but not by an increase in personal distress of the observer. The effect was moderated by the situational valence, identifying the target as part of one’s group, and trait empathic concern. A neutral situation, high trait empathic concern, and low identification increased the effect. We observed high heterogeneity across countries that was, via split-half validation, best explained by country-level GDP per capita and subjective well-being with stronger effects for higher-scoring countries. These findings suggest that tears can function as social glue, providing one possible explanation why emotional crying persists into adulthood.