Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Moral Experiment - Moving Forward

It’s been an eventful few months to say the least.  The ‘Moral Experiment’ is real and is here. People are joining and most importantly people are talking. I am very excited to know that I have stirred the proverbial melting pot of perceptions on morality. Some participants have informed me that it took several hours to decided on what to do with their ‘Moral Earnings’. This took me back a bit, something I created actually stopped them in their tracks and forced them to question them-selves. I felt like an artist whom created a great work proving thought from its onlooker. This feedback has stimulated more motivation within me to push on with the project.  Thank you.


The ‘Moral Experiment has started to get some press below are a few articles: published an article called ‘The origins and effects of morality’ – ‘The Moral Experiment is a revolutionary social networking concept; it has the potential to make history. It has been designed to harness the power of a participant’s online social network and can be many things to many people: fun, insightful, controversial, charitable or profitable.’ – Scientist David Bradley. Read the article here.

Also a few months back the site was picked up by the good people at they wrote an article called ‘Website Uses Dictator Game for (Mostly) Charity’. It was great to read what people really thought of the concept. The geek in me went crazy when I found out that had published an article on the experiment. One geek ambition, to be published by the world’s most read blog, complete. Read the article here.

The results:

I believe it’s still too early to draw any valid conclusions from the experiments results. There are some interesting trends that are coming out of the results, like females always seem to be more giving than males. And that there is only a fluctuation of 4% of average morality between different religions where as there is a 55% fluctuation in employment; the retired to students. This says to me that social circumstances rather than fear of ‘god/s’ have more of an impact on what a participant will do with their ‘Moral Earnings’. Again it’s still early days and I have somewhat of a way to go before the volume of data can credibly back this up.
Originally I was only displaying the average morality of people who had actually got a referral to the experiment but as more people joined the experiment and then didn’t actually get any referrals, there data was being wasted, hidden from anybody interested in that demographic. So I decided to change the way the results are displayed. Now anybody can chose between the morality of participants who have joined and earned money from referrals and participants who have not earned any money via their link.


I really want the results of the ‘Moral Experiment’ to be look upon as truthful.  I require assistance finding how I can validate the results of the experiment. I want the results to have credibility, if you are a well know scientist or a well established trusted group/company that would like to audit and validate the results please contact me.


I am happy to introduce a new charity as a beneficiary of the Moral Experiment – ‘Thanda After-School is a project in rural KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, that provides daily support to orphans and other vulnerable children. We use already-existing local resources -- from classrooms to soccer fields -- to engage 325 children, ages 5-22, in after-school activities. We employ young role models from within the community to be mentors for these students, filling the developmental and emotional gaps left by missing parents and overwhelmed caregivers.’ -

I am also currently in talks with a few other large charities that have shown an interest in getting involved. Fingers crossed the ‘Moral Experiment’ can help out too.

If you are a charity and would like to get involved and accept donation from participants of the ‘Moral Experiment’ please contact me.

There is no charge involved in becoming a beneficiary the only requirement is a PayPal account and a valid registered charity number.

More feedback:

I like feedback! The good, the bad and the ugly. Most people who I don’t personally know that have given me feedback have all been intellectually in tune to what I am trying to achieve. Feedback has been honest and at times cutting. I have always acted to clear up any misunderstanding their maybe and hear their points of view. I have made several changes to the reports and the administration of a participants accounts from this feedback. I have also now added comments sections on all of the reports so we can all hear your views on the results.

What’s new?

New reports and visualizations:
I can’t really take any credit for the visualization of the data as it’s a free Google API. Thank you Google for being so generous with your software.. The data is obviously not Googles though. If you want to know more on how I used Googles API go to.

The idea of improving the data visualization came to me via a participant ‘Bevan’ who suggested I displayed the data in a more informed and interesting way. He suggested I look at some work by Hans Rosling on Ted Talks. Check out his amazing work:
View his data: click here.

Changing your morals:
As a participant you can now change your morality, mood and charity whenever you want to. The change will only take affect going forward and will not change what you chose to do with your ‘Moral Earnings’ before the change. This is a really exciting feature for me. I record the amount of ‘Moral Earnings’ that’s been earned and the morality, mood and charity before the change. I think it’s going to be really interesting to see at what point participants will change their morality for good or bad. Does everybody have a price?

More moods:
Since having a chat with a few participants regard the current moods on offer I have decided to add several more for participants to choose from.  Happy, Sad, Angry, Easy going, Giving, Selfish, Spiritual, Intoxicated, Guilty, Desperate, Self loathing, Self loving, Flush, Satisfied.

What’s next?

Marketing, I need help… I know that the ‘Moral Experiment’ has huge potential to change people’s lives. The biggest problem I have is getting the site on new participant’s radars. I need to give more help to the participants when sharing and advertise their link. I need to get some more press to the site. If you know of any journalists who are looking for a story or want to conduct an interview I would be very grateful for the exposure.

I have invited a friend to help me out and try and get some more charities and exposure to the site. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with J

Who am I?

I am just a normal person, with a passion for software development and the big questions in life. I really want to do some good in this world. I am personally funding the running of the ‘Moral Experiment Limited’. Some people are questioning why there is an admin fee associated with joining the ‘Moral Experiment’. The answer is quite simple. Software development, designers, marketing,  servers, software licenses are not free. I have a full time job that is currently covering these costs but as the site grows my salary will not cover these costs and support my family at the same time.

Here is some more information about me:


The participants of the experiment have so far to date 10/04/2011 donated £129.18 they have an average morality of 88%. Charities have been and are free to collect their donations using PayPal. To all the participants that donated their 'Moral Earnings', Thank you and keep on spreading the word. To all the other participants who didn't donate to charity; enjoy your earnings and keep spreading the 'Moral Experiment'.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

24 days after launch

It’s been a very interesting, exciting and difficult 24 days since the launch of the Moral Experiment. I didn't expect the experiment to explode on to the scene, but I didn't realize it would be so difficult to direct traffic to the site either.

I am currently only advertising to my friends and family on facebook/twitter. I am using them as a test bed to improve future participant’s experience. I wanted to know what their first impressions were. Most of the feedback had been very positive. They were excited and thought the site was original and potentially rewarding. A few of my friends have asked me if the experiment is a pyramid scheme. I told them no and gave them the following reasons.

Firstly: the Moral Experiment is not an investment scheme. The money that is paid is for subscription to the Moral Experiment only; this is one pound a month. The participant will never see that money again as it will be used for the referring participants ‘Moral Earnings’.  Participants can earn via marketing their unique URL to new potential participants. This is not illegal it’s called affiliation or sales.

Secondly: There is no promise of instant lucrative returns. ‘A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment’ -

There is no promise of free money, participants earn ‘Moral Earnings’ via affiliation. Moral Earnings are only accumulated via direct referrals; this is known as affiliation, connections, relationships, associations. The Moral Experiment only uses the subscription fee paid by a participant for the referral participants  Moral Earnings. Therefore the money exists, is real and has been paid.  Affiliation is no different to an estate agent, or any sales person, getting a commission for attracting a customer to a product and selling it to them. In the case of the Moral Experiment the commission is the referrals subscription fee.  There is nothing illegal or wrong with this sales technique especially when it’s used to generate money for charity. The point of the Moral Experiment is not to make participants millionaires. This is not a get rich quick scheme. The point of the experiment is for participants to have earned enough real money for their true morality to be tested. A participant would need a massive social network to earn any meaningful amount of money. Remember Moral Earnings are called Moral Earnings because a participant needs to earn them. There is no free money!

This technique is exactly how Google’s ‘Adwords’ works and how Google make billion’s each year. Google refers people to a site based on a search term. Google takes a payment for the referral, (pay per click) - Google has a bidding system where site owners bid for the max amount they will pay for a referral on a search term. With the Moral Experiment it’s a fixed rate. The referrer participant will receive the referred participant’s subscription fee minus PayPal and admin fees. Again, this is not how a pyramid scheme works.

Hearing from my friends and family has made me think about how to instill trust in the Moral Experiment. I don’t want potential participants of the Moral Experiment to think it’s just another money making internet scheme or scam. There is a danger of this if the marketing is not right. This is not the intension of the Moral Experiment but by its nature some participants of the Moral Experiment could make money for themselves. Participants can also make money for charity but this seems to be overlooked when people look at the selfish aspects of the experiment.

Building trust:
The Moral Experiment is a registered certified PayPal Application. The site was reviewed by the people at PayPal, they liked it and approved the use of PayPal and how the software works J. I hope this will put participants at ease when paying subscription fees online.

I have also added live feed functionality. Every time a new participant joins the experiment the total to charity, total to self and average morality will be updated. I want participants to see total transparency with all Moral Earnings. So far people have been really moral as I write this blog the current stats are - Live Feed: Total donated to charity £46.32, Total taken for self £2.50, Average morality 94.72%.

The Moral Experiment Limited is a registered UK Company No. 7424966. As a UK company the Moral Experiment needs to comply with UK fair trade laws.

What happens when participants join the Moral Experiment from the root of the site with no participant referral? This is my moral dilemma and moral dilemmas are anonymous. I would like to add that one of the initial intension of the Moral Experiment was to generate funding for a charity my sister ‘Katie Bushell’ works with. Tilinanu is a charity that supports orphanages in Malawi. My sister is currently raising funds to build a boy’s orphanage. If you would like to read more about my sisters amazing work and the charity she supports please go to the following websites:

Just to add, I am comfortable with my morality.

What’s Next:
I feel that the Moral Experiment is almost complete from a software point of view there is not much left to do. From a branding and marketing point of view I am at the foot of the mountain. I think I still need to tweak the site to make the core message stronger. I also don’t want people to take the whole thing too seriously. Yes it’s an experiment into human morality and yes the results will be an indication or trend but its still just a bit of fun. Remember that we are all very different and one person’s concept of morality could be totally different to yours. We must not judge people at face value. Every single person on this earth no matter the demographic is unique, treat them that way. The experiment does have known flaws; participant need access to the internet and have PayPal account.  These flaws cut huge demographics out of the experiment. I hope one day we could extend the experiment to them. One step at a time.

More Charities:
I want more charities to benefit from the Moral Experiment. I am going to try and attract charities from all different area so participants have a broader choice when deciding on how much and where to give their moral earnings. If you know any charities that would like to be a beneficiary please let me know. It’s totally free for the charity to get involved. The charity just needs to have a valid charity number and a PayPal account to receive donations.

The Results:
So far there are too few participants participating in the experiment to draw any valid conclusions. But there are a few interesting trends that are starting to appear which we can ponder over.

Does gender play a part in morality?
So far the females that have taken part in the experiment that have referred participants to the site have all been very, very moral. Females are sitting at 100% morality, whereas males are a close second with an average morality of 91%. Still impressive if you as me.

Does employment play a part in morality?
Employed participant have given the most in total but have a lower morality than retired participants who are currently sitting with 100% morality.

Does gambling play a part in morality?
So far neither none gamblers or gamblers are 100% moral but none gamblers are so far more moral that gamblers. None gamblers 97.10% vs gamblers 86.46%

The experiment has begun. I am excited and nervous. I really hope people see the potential good in the Moral Experiment and take full advantage of it.

You want to know more?

Visit the

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day One - 01-20-2011

Participants : 0
Average Morality: 0

The experiment is ready to go live. I feel a calm coming over me. All the preparation work is now finished, it's just a matter of finding the first participant. My plan is to get all my friends and family to join in, from there I will try and generate some interest on facebook groups discussing morality, religion and race. Maybe these demographic group discussions may generate an interest in the experiment. I also have a few friends in marketing who might be able to help me out by generating some publicity for the experiment. I am hoping once there are a few participants that have joined in the experiment word of it will spread virally. I really have no idea what is going to happen. If I didn't know the site existed and a real friend suggested using the site I would be weary at first, but once I realized it wasn’t a scam I would partake. I think most people will think like this too.

It is now out of my hands, I have created you must now consume. Please be honest to yourself. Give or take, the choice is yours.

Here's a video of me talking about the original concept of the experiment.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Moral Experiment Rules

Where is the money going to coming from?
Social networking wealth transfer is how funds are going to be raised for the experiment. I am going to get participants to leverage the power of social networking sites like facebook, twitter, myspace, personal blog etc. Participants of experiment will need to subscribe a minimum of £1 per month. This subscription fee will be used for the referring participant’s moral dilemma. The participants of the experiment will earn their dilemma money by sharing their unique personal page with their friends on social network sites getting them to also take part in the experiment. The referring participant will then get to use the new participant’s subscription fee for their moral dilemma. The more a participant shares their unique URL the more money they could earn for their moral dilemma. I am interested to see what participants will do with their moral earnings once they have made back their initial £1 subscription fee. Most people on facebook have at least 150 – 300 friends.

The Choice:
Participants will choose what percentage of their moral earnings they want to give to charity or keep for themselves. During the signup process they will make this choice. The participant will not be under any pressure to choose one way or the other. If they decided to donate to charity they will also be able to pick one of the vetted, certified charities I will associate the experiment with. The experiment will be anonymous so nobody will know what the participant does with their moral earnings at an individual level.

There are a few assumptions I will have to make about the participants of the experiment. They have access to the Internet, can read, are willing to take part and have enough money to subscribe. This does exclude the very poor and people who don’t have access to the Internet. This is unfortunately one of the limits of the Internet but I must consider this when analyzing the results. In most western countries there is almost total Internet coverage and participants will be able to afford £1 especially since the participant will make that money back by sharing their unique URL.

Measuring the Results:
There will be two reports for each demographic. The first will be the earnings report that will display the amount of money give vs taken for the demographic. the second report will be a morality line graph  depicting the average morality for each demographic based on the percentage they have chosen to give or take. The experiment will be focusing on the following demographics: gender, age, education, occupation, religion, race, world region, interest in gambling. The participant will enter their demographics during the signup process.

I predict that on average human morality will be similar across religions, genders, races and world regions but will differ when looking at education, occupation and age. I am not sure about participants who are interested in gambling that’s a wild card to me.

I have not created this experiment to dispute whether God/s exist or cause tension between different demographics. I want the experiment to be open and scientific. There will be no judgments made just cold analysis of the facts.

So what do you predict? Do you think that social stereotypes with regards to human morality hold true? Lets find out.

Visit to find out more.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the beginning there was?

Have you ever wondered how or where we humans attained our moral behavior? Are morals built into our D.N.A. tried and tested over millions of years of evolution, perfected by the survival of human kind? Instinctive like removing your hand away from a flame. Are morals God/s given? or are morals learnt via peers / parents / teachers based on the current zeitgeist not based on religions teachings?

I think everybody in the world has an opinion on how we become moral, or not in some cases. Religious people will say that morals are taught from the word of God/s. More scientific people may argue that we evolved our morals for the survival of future generations. Others may believe that morals have nothing to do with religion or science and are based on teachings passed down from generation to generation.  

I want to know where our moral behavior comes from and if morals change depending on our demographics. I want to know if social stereotypical views on morality hold true. I want to know if religion, race, age,  education, employment status  play a part in our moral behavior or if it’s something much deeper than that, ingrained into humanity itself.

I am going to create an experiment that tests the morality of different demographics to see if there is a difference between these demographics or find out that we are all them same.

I need to create a moral dilemma that I can use to test the participants of the experiment. The dilemma needs to be real, something that will have an actual effect on the participants. Asking questions will not be good enough as people will be more likely to lie or not take part. I obviously don’t want the participants to do something dangerous that could lead them into trouble but I do need the participants to really question themselves, search deep within their heart. There needs to be a choice between selfish or selfless behavior. I know this experiment needs to involve money, but how? How do I get participants to have a real moral dilemma over something of value (money), when I have no money and I want everybody on the Internet to be able to take part in the experiment?...

The Experiments Moral Dilemma:
If you came into some money would you:
  • Give it to charity 
  • Keep it for yourself? 
The experiment needs to be anonymous and needs to involve real money. 
In my next blog I am going to outline the rules of the experiment and explain exactly how I intended to get everybody in the world who has access to the internet to get involved.