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.

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