Does “science” make you moral?

Whatever one thinks of priming studies, it is nice to have, after many studies where priming religion reinforces moral attitudes (for instance Shariff & Norenzayan 2007), an article in PLOS One, "Does “Science” Make You Moral? The Effects of Priming Science on Moral Judgments and Behavior" by Christine Ma-Kellams and Jim Blascovich, where where priming science has a comparable effect.

From the Abstract: Previous work has noted that science stands as an ideological force insofar as the answers it offers to a variety of fundamental questions and concerns; as such, those who pursue scientific inquiry have been shown to be concerned with the moral and social ramifications of their scientific endeavors. No studies to date have directly investigated the links between exposure to science and moral or prosocial behaviors. Across four studies, both naturalistic measures of science exposure and experimental primes of science led to increased adherence to moral norms and more morally normative behaviors across domains….These studies demonstrated the morally normative effects of lay notions of science. Thinking about science leads individuals to endorse more stringent moral norms and exhibit more morally normative behavior. These studies are the first of their kind to systematically and empirically test the relationship between science and morality. The present findings speak to this question and elucidate the value-laden outcomes of the notion of science.

The findings are summarized in a Scientific American presentation: "Just Thinking about Science Triggers Moral Behavior: Just Thinking about Science Triggers Moral Behavior: Psychologists find deep connection between scientific method and morality" by Piercarlo Valdesolo.

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