Effect of professional expertise and exposure to everyday life decision-making on moral choices

Maddalena Boccia, Paola Verde, Gregorio Angelino, Paolo Carrozzo, Diego Vecchi, Laura Piccardi, Stefano Colangeli, Pierluigi Cordellieri, Fabio Ferlazzo, Anna Maria Giannini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Moral sense is defined as a feeling of fairness or unfairness of an action that knowingly causes harm to people other than the subject. It is crucial in determining human behavior and becomes pivotal in operational environments. Here we assessed whether professional daily life experience in an operational environment affects moral judgment by asking 41 military pilots of the Italian Air Force (P) and 69 controls (C) to solve 40 moral dilemmas. We found that P gave more morally acceptable utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas. Interestingly, men and women in P equally accepted utilitarian resolutions of moral dilemmas, whereas in C women were less prone than men to accept utilitarian responses. We conclude that professional daily life experience of P, in an operational environment, affects moral judgment and mitigates gender predisposition towards moral dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-85
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Publication statusPublished - Jul 27 2017


  • Flight experience
  • Gender differences
  • Military personnel
  • Moral decision-making
  • Moral dilemmas
  • Moral judgment
  • Pilot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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