“These findings suggest that if I'm fooled into thinking that I endorse a view, I'll do the work myself to come up with my own reasons [for endorsing it],”...

How to confuse a moral compass

Study participants were asked to agree or disagree on 12 moral issues, checking their answers. But the first page glued itself to a near duplicate when it was folded back, as they answered the second page, preserving their marks. Two of the questions had a single word change so they said the oppositeof that to which the subject had responded. When they were asked to read the questions and discuss their responses, ...

About half of the participants did not detect the changes, and 69% accepted at least one of the altered statements.

People were even willing to argue in favour of the reversed statements: A full 53% of participants argued unequivocally for the opposite of their original attitude in at least one of the manipulated statements, the authors write. Hall and his colleagues have previously reported this effect, called 'choice blindness', in other areas, including taste and smell2 and aesthetic choice3.

People can be tricked into reversing their opinions on moral issues, even to the point of constructing good arguments to support the opposite of their original positions, researchers report...

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