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VR Dilemmas

Experimental Trials

Impersonal (Pull Switch) Condition: Example where impersonal action is required (pull switch) to change the direction of the trolley, killing one bystander but saving the lives of five.

Personal (Physical Force) Condition: Example of personal action condition. Five lives are saved if physical force is personally administered to push the bystander off of the footbridge, into the path of the oncoming railcar.

Control Trials

Impersonal-Omission: Example of switch condition where omission of action is required to save the lives of five workers, while one is crushed by railcar.

Personal-Omission: Harm to bystander is potentially caused by personal force (pushing him over rail). However, since workers are on side track, omission of harmful action is necessary to achieve utilitarian outcome (five lives saved).

Practice Trials

Impersonal-Omission Practice: Example of pre-experiment habituation trial. Action is impersonal (pull switch) and where omission of action leads to outcome where bystander is unharmed (i.e. no dilemma).

Personal-Action Practice: In this version, subjects learn that the railcar can be stopped by pushing a heavy object into its path.

Agent Vocalizations Before Impact
  Audio 1. Audio capture example of agent vocalizations before impact.

Click Here: Screams

Killing for the Greater Good?
Video dramatization of the trolley problem.


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