Moral dilemmas and trust in leaders during a global health crisis [Registered Report Stage 1 Protocol]
journal contributionposted on 19.03.2021, 10:40 by Jim Everett, Clara Colombatto, Edmond Awad, Paulo Boggio, Björn Bos, William Brady, Megha Chawla, Vladimir Chituc, Dongil Chung, Moritz Drupp, Srishti Goel, Brit Grosskopf, Frederik Hjorth, Alissa Ji, Caleb Kealoha, Yangfei Lin, Yina Ma, Michel Maréchal, Federico Mancinelli, Christoph Mathys, Asmus Olsen, Graeme Pearce, Annayah Prosser, Niv Reggev, Nicholas Sabin, Julien Senn, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Hallgeir Sjåstad, Madelijn Strick, Sunhae Sul, Lars Tummers, Monique Turner, Hongbo Yu, Yoonseo Zoh, Molly Crockett
Trust in leaders is central to citizen compliance with public policies. One potential determinant of trust is how leaders resolve conflicts between utilitarian and non-utilitarian ethical principles in moral dilemmas. Past research suggests utilitarian responses to dilemmas can both erode and enhance trust in leaders: sacrificing some people to save many others (i.e., instrumental harm) reduces trust, while impartially maximizing the welfare of everyone equally (i.e., impartial beneficence) may increase trust. Here, we investigate moral dilemmas and trust in leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across 22 countries on 6 continents, participants will complete behavioral and self-reported measures of trust in leaders who endorse either utilitarian or non-utilitarian principles in COVID-19 dilemmas. We predict that endorsement of instrumental harm will decrease trust, while endorsement of impartial beneficence will increase trust. These results can advance our understanding of trust in leaders and inform effective public communication during times of crisis.
Stage 1 Registered Report Protocol & Stage 1 Registered Report Supplementary Information.