Meritocracy and decisions towards low status groups in moral dilemmas (description 18th General Meeting of The European Association of Social Psychology)
05 July 2017
We make decisions every day. However, less often, people see themselves in a position where they are forced to make socially critical decisions. Socially critical decisions are decisions, regarding others, that involve serious consequences (e.g. unequal distribution of material or symbolic resources, suffering and/or the death of other people). Using moral dilemmas as an example of this type of decisions, we analyzed the impact of the salience of the meritocratic norm on socially critical decisions regarding members of low status groups. Specifically, we conducted two experimental studies in which the salience of the meritocratic descriptive norm was manipulated along with the status of the victim in a trolley dilemma. The results showed that the salience of the meritocratic descriptive norm does lead to a higher acceptability of the sacrifice of victims of low status.