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Tiffany Sun employs the trolley problem to reveal our biases

Tiffany Sun employs the trolley problem to reveal our biases

New York high school student Tiffany Sun re-examines the Trolley Problem:

Tiffany said the first step to conducting her research was coming up with experimental stimuli to apply to the traditional logical problem. “I manipulated the characteristics of the lone person on the track,” she says. “I used descriptions of variables—[physical] attractiveness, socio-economic status or wealth, and [having a physical] disability.”…

Tiffany’s results showed that the participants were more like to sacrifice (kill) the person on the alternative track if that person was described as poor (low SES), disabled, or unattractive. Attractive, well-off, and people without disabilities were less likely to be sacrificed to save the five people on the other track.  The highest sacrifice rate was for the disabled person, at 74 percent. The next highest was for the plain woman, at 69 percent…

Tiffany notes that to her, one of the most interesting gender difference that emerged was that men chose to sacrifice plain women at a rate of 82 percent, while women sacrificed the plain woman only 52 percent of the time.

Read it all in Cognito.

The differences between Sun’s scenario and a classic Trolley Problem are explained by Daily Nous.

Posted by John B. Chilton


Image: “Theatrical District, Richmond, Virginia, 1923” by Printed by Louis Kaufmann & Sons, Baltimore, MD – Rarely Seen Richmond project of the James Branch Cabell library at Virginia Commonwealth University. Image URL. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –,_Richmond,_Virginia,_1923.jpg#/media/File:Theatrical_District,_Richmond,_Virginia,_1923.jpg

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Ann Fontaine

To examine one’s own unconscious biases take the Implicit Attitudes Test.

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