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Coercion May Make People Feel Less Responsible for Actions

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  • Coercion May Make People Feel Less Responsible for Actions

    [quote] By Sindya N. Bhanoo
    • Feb. 22, 2016
    Some people feel responsible for their actions even if they are forced to take them. But many do not, a new study suggests, finding in coercion a freedom from blame.

    In their experiments, Patrick Haggard, a cognitive neuroscientist at University College London, and his colleagues measured how the participants’ “sense of agency” changed when they did something negative to another person.

    The negative outcome was a financial penalty or an electric shock. In some cases, the subject delivered the shock or penalty by choice; in others, he or she was told whether to take the action.

    Dr. Haggard and his colleagues also asked participants to estimate the time between taking action — in this case, pressing a computer key — and the resulting financial loss or electric shock to another person.
    According to Dr. Haggard, previous research has shown that the longer the perceived time lapse, the less responsibility a subject feels for a negative outcome. In the new study, there was a small but significant increase in the perceived time lapse when the participants were acting under orders.

    The study, which appears in Current Biology, suggests that perhaps laws should penalize those who give orders to a greater degree than those who follow them. “Society needs to manage quite carefully how responsibility is allocated,” Dr. Haggard said.[/quote}

    I wonder how much this effect influences people who support authoritarian government; "if the government is taking responsibility for doing bad things, it's not my fault when I'm the one who has to do the bad things."
    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." –Mark Twain

  • #2
    Milgram already figured this out.
    I'm for defending all rights for everyone.



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