Apr 29, 2017 12:46 PM EDT
Harvard Scientist Says Moral Imagination Makes People Good [VIDEO]
A new study from Harvard University suggests that human beings by default are good people. According to the researchers, the moral imagination of people finds doing immoral things impossible. This reaction can help individuals act morally in the real world.
The study, published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Science" in April 17, is authored by Assistant Professor of Psychology Fiery Cushman, along with postdoctoral fellow Jonathan Phillips, Harvard Gazette reported. People equate doing something immoral with something impossible, said Phillips. Meanwhile, Cushman said there are good reasons why the human brain thinks responds this way.
According to Cushman, this kind of reaction of the mind can perhaps help people act morally. He believes that it could be easier for people to do the right thing when their moral imaginations treat doing wrong things as something impossible. If a mind admits that something is possible, it would be very tempting for that individual to do that thing, Cushman said.
Cushman said, it's like every individual has two personalities in their heads - one that follows the laws of morality, while the other deliberately follows the laws of physics. He said that the study teaches them why people consider things impossible or possible. To find out how people respond to immoral and impossible things, the researchers conducted an experimented with the online labor market Amazon Mechanical Turk.
In the experiment, participants were given scenarios to solve, and were shown solutions that were physically impossible, or were immoral, Daily Mail UK reported. One group were given 1.5 seconds to respond, while the other group where given 1.5 seconds to wait before responding. The researchers found that participants who were given less time to respond find more immoral actions impossible.
When people have more time to respond, they tend to use the logical part of their brain and reason what's impossible and what's not. But if they are given less time to respond, they tend to use the default, which is finding immoral things impossible.
Join the Conversation