Contemplation and Conversation: Subtle Influences on Moral Decision Making
This research investigated the role of contemplation, conversation (conceptualized as social contemplation), and explanation in right-wrong decisions. Several theories suggest that contemplation or morally oriented conversation will promote ethical decisions and that immediate choice or self-interested conversation will not; other theories suggest that individuals' explanations will reinforce their decisions. An experimental task tempting people to lie supported all of these predictions. In addition, truth tellers viewed the situation as morally oriented, and non–truth tellers viewed it as oriented around self-interest, both before and after their decisions. These findings provided the basis for a new process model of moral decision making.