DSH Monthly Seminar Series 2020 (Oct)

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Title: Understanding process dynamics and individual differences in moral judgement updating
Speaker: Milan Andrejevic
Date: 29th October (Thursday)
Time: 11:00am - 12:00pm


Moral judgements play an important role in society - they are at the crux of political issues, shape interpersonal relationships, and form the basis for our legal systems. Yet, moral judgements are not made in isolation, but in a complex informational context. Further, moral judgements often need to be updated in response to ever-evolving changes in our information environments. However, process dynamics and individual differences in moral judgement updating are poorly understood. In this thesis we developed a new framework for studying moral judgements of fairness-related actions, which we used across three studies to derive novel insights. In the first study we characterized moral judgement updating, showing that people flexibly switch between relying on context-independent to relying on context-dependent moral norms, as they learn contextual information. In the second study, we showed that individual differences in importance people assign to selfishness and generosity norms when making these judgements across contextual conditions correlate with several basic personality traits (including Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Openness, and Extraversion). In the third study, we showed that people slow their moral judgements when expecting contextual updates and when judging negatively valenced actions. Using the Diffusion Decision Modeling (DDM) framework, we show that these slowing effects can be understood as changes in distinct aspects of the unfolding decision process. Across these studies, the thesis presents a new understanding of moral judgement as a highly context-sensitive dynamic decision process.

Supervising team: Stefan Bode (primary supervisor), Simon Laham, and Daniel Feuerriegel

Speaker Bio

Milan Andrejevic is a PhD candidate in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences. He is interested in cognitive and neural processes underpinning human interdependence.