Summary #356

People’s sense of control over their actions is reduced at a fundamental level when they’re angry or afraid

digest.bps.org.uk
  • A group of researchers measured the “intentional binding” of several participants and observed that when they were angry or afraid they tended to lose control of their actions.
  • The “intentional binding” is a test in which the participants press the button of a clock that rotates permanently and they say what time the clock indicated when they pushed the button.
  • According to the evidence, the people who control their actions tend to push the button on the clock later than those who cannot control their actions.
  • The main limitation of this study was that the researchers did not measure the “intentional binding” when the participants were happy.
  • Based on ethical and moral aspects, the reduction of the control of actions caused by anger or fear cannot be taken as an excuse to defend criminals, the study suggests.

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