"Could you kill one innocent person to save five?"

C one hand, purely mathematically five lives more valuable one. At the same time, most of us intuitively agree that killing innocents is wrong in every situation. How we act in situations of moral choice and what it says about us, the scientists decided to find out.

PHOTO Getty Images

A group of American and British psychologists decided to test the hypothesis that a similar tendency to "inflexible" moral beliefs embedded in our evolutionary and we instinctively tend to trust people with firm moral principles.

Scientists conducted experiments 9, which were attended by a total of more than 2,400 people. Participants were asked what they would do in a situation of moral choice, in particular, whether they are ready to commit "evil" to prevent even greater evil (for example, deliberately kill an innocent man to stop uncontrollable tram that is about to run over several people, or finish off a wounded comrade stuck in a trap, so he did not get captured by the enemy, who will torture him).

The researchers then assessed how participants trust each other. For this, they offered to lend money to each other. It turned out that most readily lend money to those who refused to sacrifice the lives of innocent people at the time thought experiment (participants knew each other's answers). Less confidence in those who eventually agreed to donate one life to save many, but has taken this decision with difficulty and after much hesitation. Finally, the least credible were those parties that quickly and easily make the most "rational" solution - one that is formally led to the smallest victims. It is noteworthy that in some embodiments, a script could take into account the opinion of the potential victims (eg, a wounded soldier could plead with him not to kill or, conversely, to ask him to kill to avoid being tortured in captivity). In these cases, the most trusted those participants who listened to the wishes of the "victims", regardless of what those wishes.

David Edmonds "would have killed you fat?" Imagine that you are standing on the bridge over the railway tracks, which sweeps uncontrolled trolley.

"This helps to explain why we like people, these" intuitive "moral rules - it's not that they follow the letter of the law, and that they respect the wishes of others," - says one of the study's authors, Professor David Pizarro (David Pizarro) from Cornell University (USA).

"We are talking about the differences between moral and ethical models. The first of them - a consequentialist ethics, according to which we must strive to bring the best possible welcome to the maximum number of people, even if they have to commit some evil - for example, to kill one person to save five. If we follow the deontological ethics, which is important for compliance with the rules and obligations, the murder of the innocent is always morally wrong, even if formally it will bring more good (save more lives). "By default," people usually follow is deontological ethics, and it seems that it is for us, "natural", but why? Psychologists say that the cause of our "irrational" emotional reactions, but our study suggests another reason - in popularity in society. If the majority of people prefer to do business and maintain relationships with those who adhere to rigid moral principles, adhere to these principles it becomes profitable, and over time they will be distributed to all the majority of the population. It is logical - after all any of us would be uncomfortable if we imagine, as our friend or partner coolly calculates the costs and benefits, wondering if we should sacrifice for the common good ", - says study co-author, Jim Everett (Jim Everett) from University of Oxford (UK). See. J. Everett et al. "Inference of Trustworthiness From Intuitive Moral Judgments", Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, April 2016.