Researchers Test People's Morality In A Game Of 'Would You Rather'

We know how the game works, right? A simple question, you're given two options and you have to decide which one you'd rather take.

Normally, the game of 'would you rather' is pretty basic (although the level of competition can quickly go up a notch or two when drinks are involved). You get the drill: would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck?


That sort of thing.

Well, researchers at Florida University have stepped it up by testing your moral obligations. As part of their study, they asked two difficult 'would you rather' questions.

It's all to do with their paper, titled 'Death Before Dishonour: Incurring Costs To Protect Moral Reputation'.

Firstly, they asked: Would you rather amputate your dominant hand or have a swastika tattooed prominently on your face?

You can answer for yourself below...

Secondly: Would you rather die right now or live into your nineties, but be widely known as a paedophile?

Interestingly, for question one, 70 percent of research participants said they would rather lose a limb than be branded as a fascist.

In the second question, 53 percent would rather cut their life short.

The researchers wanted to further the assumption that 'people's survival depends greatly on participation in cooperative society'.

The paper said: "A 'big data' study found that maintaining moral reputation is one of people's most important values.

Credit: PA

"In making hypothetical choices, high percentages of 'normal' people reported preferring jail time, amputation of limbs, and death to various forms of reputation damage.

"Two lab studies found that 30 percent of people fully submerged their hands in a pile of disgusting live worms, and 63 percent endured physical pain to prevent dissemination of information suggesting that they were racist."


One of the study's authors, Andrew J Vonasch, now at the University of North Carolina, told Seeker: "People are willing to do many things to avoid a bad reputation that other theories might not have predicted.

"Certainly, we already knew that people cared about their reputations, but this research shows that we care a whole lot about it, and we argue that this is because the self fundamentally serves social purposes."

I wonder, though, how the study results may have changed had the options been money-led...? As Thomas Jefferson said: "Money, not morality, is the principle commerce of civilised nations."

Featured Image Credit: 20th Century Fox/The Simpsons

Michael Minay

Mike Minay is a trending journalist at LADbible. He’s co-ordinated interviews with some of the big names from the world of news and sport including ITV’s Robert Peston, Sky Sports’ Jeff Stelling and darts champion Michael van Gerwen. His reporting days began on University radio in Birmingham, before moving to BBC Sport Online – creating content for large events such as Wimbledon and the FA Cup final. Mike still commentates on Football League matches at the weekend. A Manchester LAD at heart.

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