US scientists studying how the brain behaves during decision making have discovered that when people are confronted with moral decisions, they think about efficiency in one part of the brain, and equity in another part of the brain that deals with emotions, and the latter tends to win, suggesting that a sense of fairness is fundamental to human nature.
In setting up this study the researchers wanted firstly to explore whether equity or efficiency was stronger to our sense of justice, and secondly, they wanted to find out how big a role emotions played in resolving such questions.
These two questions have been at the heart of longstanding debates about “distributive justice”.
The participants made their decisions by watching a computer animation where they were shown pictures of two choices at a time, each being a photograph of the children affected and a number showing the number of meals that would be lost if they chose that option. They chose their option by selecting a lever that changed the path of a ball that was slowly moving across the screen.
The results showed that participants overwhelmingly chose equity over efficiency.
Source: Medical News Today