Scientific American: Just Thinking about Science Triggers Moral Behavior

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
I found this piece interesting and wanted to share and invite discussion.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=just-thinking-about-science-triggers-moral-behavior

Across all these different measures, the researchers found consistent results. Simply being primed with science-related thoughts increased a) adherence to moral norms, b) real-life future altruistic intentions, and c) altruistic behavior towards an anonymous other. The conceptual association between science and morality appears strong.
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Sausalito

Active Member
As a control, I would propose using sets of terms that relate to other fields of scholarship.

Edit: That is, I submit that exposing the subjects to terms that likewise have a strong correlation to scholarly knowledge would be a worthwhile control for this experiment. Using terms that simply "have nothing to do with science" is insufficient and too open-ended; drawing conclusions from it would be imprudent. The next logical step would be to suggest explanations (skeptical to the premise that science induces moral uprightness) for the results and then test them. What connotations do the science-related words carry for the subjects? Might words that evoke ivy-covered wall imagery in general (e.g.) have similar results?

Bottom line: we (as science-oriented people) should not sacrifice the scientific method in an effort to glorify science - now that's just diddily-dong-dang silly. Although candidly, I would love to see strong evidence for such a correlation.
 
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