No more sexting!
Everyone knows the media controls everything. In this case, it’s your moral compass. Apparently, subliminal erotic or arousing images are responsible for the decline in American morality. A study was done to test subliminal erotic imagery and its effect on moral decision-making. Does sexting make you a bad person? Could porn be America’s downfall? Keep reading to find out what these researchers learned.
Who do you kill?
A paper published in Plos One studied decision-making. A research team, consisting of people from the Fundación Universitaria Luis Amigó in Colombia and the University of the Balearic Islands in Spain, studied exactly what factors effect morality. 224 subjects participated in the study, which used the “trolley problem” to determine the participants’ decision-making tendencies. This problem is ultimately meant to test which bystander(s) the participant will choose to kill.
Commonly used in moral and ethical studies, the Trolley Problem is as follows:
If you are driving a runaway trolley and it is headed in the direction of 5 bystanders, but there is additional track you could move to that has only one person in the way, which track do you choose? Do you stay on the one you are currently on, which condemns 5 people, or do you change your direction to condemn one person, a person who originally wasn’t in the way? The question was preceded by showing the participants a series of erotic images. The pictures are flashed so quickly—just 16 milliseconds each—that the human brain is unable to consciously process each individual picture. The lead researcher, Dr. Antonio Olivera La Rosa confirmed “It’s impossible to see the pictures.”
Olivera La Rosa suggests that the images affected the participants’ morality on a subconscious level. He says that these rapid flashing images had a larger effect than that of a processed image. He further elaborates, “When you actually see a supraliminal, conscious sexual stimulus, there are brain activations that are associated with sexual arousal but also regulatory control.” He says, if you’re unable to fully process, then you’re also unable to “control your response.” Well, that sounds terrifying.