Causal deviance and the attribution of moral responsibility

D. Pizarro, E. L. UHLMANN, P. Bloom

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

November 2003, vol. 39, n°6, pp.653-660

Departments: Management & Human Resources

Are current theories of moral responsibility missing a factor in the attribution of blame and praise? Four studies demonstratedthat even when cause, intention, and outcome (factors generally assumed to be sufficient for the ascription of moral responsibility)are all present, blame and praise are discounted when the factors are not linked together in the usual manner (i.e., cases of ''causaldeviance''). Experiment 4 further demonstrates that this effect of causal deviance is driven by intuitive gut feelings of right andwrong, not logical deliberation