Differential encoding of the two fundamental ethical standards

Ming Singer1, Alexander MacKenzie1
1University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Cite this article:  Singer, M., & MacKenzie, A. (2002). Differential encoding of the two fundamental ethical standards. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 30(8), 765-772.

Volume 30 Issue 8 | e1215 | Published: December 2002 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.2002.30.8.765

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This study explored the encoding salience of the 2 fundamental ethical standards of extrinsic utility and intrinsic duty. The specific research question was: "To what extent are the two key notions of human good encoded in distinctive cognitive schemas?" The release-from-proactive-interference (RPI) experimental paradigm in memory research was used to address the question. Words in the conceptual categories of "money" and "morals" were selected to denote the utilitarian and deontological notions respectively. Results show a significant release in recall when words were shifted from one notion to the other. The theoretical and practical implications of the differential encoding of the two ethical standards are then discussed.

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