Sunday, March 24, 2013

Could just thinking about science make you act morally?

PZ Myers has a nice little blurb about a study that suggests priming one's mind with scientific terms (e.g. logical, hypothesis, science, theory, etc.) results in more moral actions when the subjects are subsequently asked to be charitable (share money) or make moral judgments.  Of course, the study, like many of its kind has certain drawbacks, as Myers points out:

"Another important caveat is that it’s a typical psychology study, using a small pool of undergraduates at the University of California Santa Barbara, so they’re actually tapping into very narrow cultural norms. A group of students who were familiar with the Tuskegee syphilis study, to name just one exception, might respond to priming with science words very differently, while people from a less science-dependent culture might find the exercise meaningless."

He goes on to conclude that the important thing is that if some thing becomes widely accepted in a culture as being related to positive moral action, then just reflecting on that thing (be it religion, or science, or Bill or Melinda Gates) will make us more likely to adhere to the moral norms associated with it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Girls are better at science than boys...

At least in some countries... not this one, of course, but then maybe that will change as our culture evolves and the traditional gender roles dissolve.  See the article here.