How do you decide between right and wrong?

Frequently asked questions.

When and where can I read about the results of the Moral Sense Test?

The MST is still at the data collection phase, but we hope to be analyzing and publishing our results soon. Since knowledge of our hypothesis and preliminary results could bias test-takers' answers we cannot release data from each phase of our research until that phase is completed and the data prepared for publication.

How can we learn about morality from hypothetical examples?

At first it may seem odd to test real-world moral intuitions with hypothetical examples, especially since the hypotheticals sometimes make unrealistic assumptions. But research in the biological and social sciences has revealed that unrealistic situations sometimes yield the best insights into real-world phenomena. For instance, humans have strong grammatical intuitions about nonsense sentences and strong visual intuitions about impossible optical illusions. The MST is exploring analogous intuitions about moral situations.

Can data collected on the internet be trusted?

Part of our research project is to compare answers on the internet with answers provided in more traditional test settings. Our hope is that visitors to this site will take the project seriously and answer as honestly as they can.

What are MST's plans for future tests?

Among our future plans are to introduce translations of the tests hosted on this site, to make them available in streaming audio and animations, and to expand the bank of test questions. The test(s) that you have taken represent only a subset of the problems we are exploring. Return visitors will experience a broader array of moral dilemmas as well as situations that help refine our understanding of particular cases.

Why was I warned that I might find the MST's questions and results to be disturbing or offensive?

We offer this warning because some subjects who take the MST may be uncomfortable with their own decisions, and the ways in which we interpret these decisions. Sometimes people are surprised at their own judgments. Other times people are uncomfortable with the very questions we ask. Usually participants find the test unproblematic, but we make this warning statement as a precaution.