Influence of deontological versus consequentialist orientations on act choices and framing effects: When principles are more important than consequences

Carmen Tanner*, Douglas L. Medin, Rumen Iliev

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

A long tradition in decision making assumes that people usually take a consequentialist perspective, which implies a focus on the outcomes only when making decisions. Such a view largely neglects the existence of a deontological perspective, which implies that people are sensitive to moral duties that require or prohibit certain behaviors, irrespective of the consequences. Similarly, recent research has also suggested that people holding "protected values" (PVs) show increased attention to acts versus omissions and less attention to outcomes. The present research investigates the role of deontological versus consequentialist modes of thought and of PVs on framing effects and act versus omission choices. In a modification of Tversky and Kahneman's (1981) risky choice framing paradigm, we manipulated the framing of the outcomes (positive, negative), as well as whether the certain outcome was associated with an act or inaction. The main results suggest that act versus omission tendencies are linked to deontological focus and PVs. Framing effects, on the other hand, are driven by a consequentialist focus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)757-769
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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