My plan to start a regular feature on behavioural and social science topics has been delayed due to pressing issues at work. But even though I don’t have time for commentary at the moment, I want to link to this article in the Washington Post about moral reasoning and outrage.
It relates to the difference in coverage and reactions to the Mumbai terrorist attacks and the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe – essentially, research shows that when we can attribute responsibility for a tragedy to someone (e.g., terrorists), we will tend to be more outraged than when it is not possible to attribute responsibility (e.g., a disease outbreak). The article also discusses how the consequences of an act affect our reactions to it. The psychology researcher interviewed in the column also participated in a web chat, with the transcript available here.
I have this topic on my list of issues I want to return to in the weeks to come – but for now, the article itself is worth reading.