Moral Deficiencies in the Arithmetic of Compassion




7:30–9 p.m.


Presidents Hall, Franklin Hall


In many human and environmental crises, individuals and their governments exhibit a morally troubling response to the risk of mass casualties that can be described by the phrase “the more who die, the less we care,” reflecting a flawed “arithmetic of compassion.” Paul Slovic will present research demonstrating three non-rational psychological mechanisms that underlie this phenomenon: psychic numbing, pseudoinefficacy, and the prominence effect. After documenting these obstacles to rational decision making, he will explore ways to counteract them—a roadmap for future research and its application to crisis management.

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