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Big Questions Project: Should We Change Moral Behavior?

Welcome to the the Big Questions Project of the Applied Social Psychology course at Tilburg University. Here students will post opinion and theory to answer our Big Question of whether we should change moral behavior.  The other blog can be found here.


When exclusion means deterioration and inclusion means development, what stopping us?

by Natalia Christiane Hariati – Social Psychology Master student of Tilburg University

“Being disabled should not mean being disqualified from having access to every aspect of life” – Emma Thompson

Over the years, British actress Emma Thompson has been involved in disability issue. Working alongside with Disabled Living Foundation, she supported elderly and people with disabilities having an independent living as well as promoting their participation in the society. Her quote impeccably portrait the condition encountered by people with disabilities in the society nowadays.

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In whose interests do we punish Robert M.?

          In an investigation on child pornography in the United States, investigators found pictures of a two year old boy with a miffy toy. The photos showed to be from a Dutch day-care center and the perpetrator was quickly arrested. On the eleventh of January he confessed that he sexually abused 83 children between 19 days and 4 years old. The judges that treated the case decided that Robert M. had to be locked up and he probably will be for the rest of his life. Of course not all of the legal cases are as extreme as this one.

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If we see that a religious belief system is causing harm, should we stand up and protest?

by Terri O’Sullivan – a social psychology masters student at the University of Tilburg.

On September 9th 2012, a YouTube video entitled ‘The Innocence of Muslims’ was broadcast on an Egyptian Islamist television station.  Within days of its broadcast, violent protests broke out all over the world resulting in the death of over 50 people and hundreds more left injured.  Fatwas were issued against all those involved in the video’s creation and a Pakistani minister offered a $100,000 bounty for the death of the producer.

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“It rubs the lotion on its skin”: On Psychopaths and Moral Empathy.

by Jaśmina Machlah

“It rubs the lotion on its skin.. it does it whenever its told (…) It RUBS THE LOTION ON ITS SKIN… or else it gets the hose again” says Buffalo Bill to Catherine Martin in one of the scenes from the Silence of the Lambs. Psychopathic profiles of murderers give a positive answer to the question of whether empathy is necessary for moral decisions to arise.

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Understanding conservatives for dummies (and liberals)

When Todd Akin, conservative republican running candidate for the US senate, stated that “if it’s a legitamite rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down”, the liberals were shocked. The same thing happened when Cory Bernardi, a conservative Australian opposition senator, wondered whether a future step after legalizing same-sex marriages would be “that it’s OK to have consensual sexual relations between humans and animals”.

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