The Jakarta Post
A study finds that users are more likely to make rational decisions when on a smartphone as opposed to when on a PC. (Shutterstock/File)
A study recently published in Computers in Human Behavior has found that depending on if you’re using your smartphone or a PC, your judgment can be impacted.
Researchers sampled 1,010 people, assigned them a device at random, and asked them moral questions. One such question was the classic trolley problem. As explained by Engadget, the question is posed as such: “a runaway trolley is headed towards five people tied up on a set of train tracks. You can do nothing, resulting in the deaths of five people, or push a man off a bridge, which will stop the trolley.”
It was revealed that users were more likely to make rational decisions when on a smartphone as opposed to when on a PC, as 33.5 percent of smartphone users favored the more utilitarian response -- killing the one man to save five lives, as compared to 22.3 percent of their PC counterparts.
"What we found in our study is that when people used a smartphone to view classic moral problems, they were more likely to make more unemotional, rational decisions when presented with a highly emotional dilemma," said Dr. Albert Barque-Duran, the lead author of the study.
"Due to the fact that our social lives, work and even shopping takes place online, it is important to think about how the contexts where we typically face ethical decisions and are asked to engage in moral behavior have changed, and the impact this could have on the hundreds of millions of people who use such devices daily." (sul/kes)