Moral decision-making as compared to economic and shopping contexts. Gender effects and utilitarianism

Maria Elide Vanutelli, Claudio Lucchiari, Francesca Meroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


How do people make decisions? Previous psychological research consistently shed light on the fact that decisions are not the result of a pure rational reasoning, and that emotions can assume a crucial role. This is particularly true in the case of moral decision-making, which requires a complex integration of affective and cognitive processes. One question that is still open to debate concern the individual factors that can affect moral decisions. Gender has been consistently identified as a possible variable of interest for the adoption of different strategic behaviors, with men using more rational processes and women more deontological principles. In the present study we aimed at exploring the presence of gender differences in different decision-making scenarios. Results showed that the moral scenario led to a similar acceptance rate in both genders, while economic and shopping offers were more likely to be accepted by men. Also, women were more inclined to refuse unfair offers, which included a higher personal benefit at the expense of the opponent, even if this meant a total loss for both parties. Finally, correlational analyses revealed a different relation between risk propensity and decision-making in men and women in different scenarios.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-64
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Altruism
  • Decision-making
  • Economic Decision-making
  • Moral Decision-making
  • Utilitarianism

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