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Men More Likely Than Women To Go Back In Time And Kill Hitler

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The Hitler question was among a range of moral questions asked of 6,100 people in a study conducted by U.S., Canadian and German researchers.

Jim Algar writes: Here’s a question; if you could go back in time and kill Hitler – likely saving millions of lives – would you do it? Your answer, researchers were surprised to find, might depend on your gender.

New research published by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology suggests that, given such a question, men seem more willing to accept the need for harmful actions for the sake of the greater good than do women.hitler-tall

“Women were more likely to fall into the deontology camp and agonize for a long time over a decision, while men were somewhat more likely to lean toward utilitarianism and make a quick decision.”

The Hitler question was among a range of moral questions asked of 6,100 people in a study conducted by U.S., Canadian and German researchers.

“Women seem to be more likely to have this negative, emotional, gut-level reaction to causing harm to people in the dilemmas to the one person, whereas men were less likely to express this strong emotional reaction to harm.”

— Lead research author Rebecca Friesdorf

Although both men and women carefully considered the consequences of their potential decision, women said they found it harder to commit murder and were more likely to let Hitler survive, the study found.

“Women seem to be more likely to have this negative, emotional, gut-level reaction to causing harm to people in the dilemmas to the one person, whereas men were less likely to express this strong emotional reaction to harm,” says lead research author Rebecca Friesdorf. A master’s degree student in social psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Friesdorf analyzed 40 data sets from previous studies.

“Although both men and women carefully considered the consequences of their potential decision, women said they found it harder to commit murder and were more likely to let Hitler survive.”

In the study participants were asked 20 questions, all of them involving a moral dilemma centering on such things as murder, torture, abortion, lying or the morality of animal research. Read the rest of this entry »

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