"People's moral judgments depend on the Digital Context (Smartphone vs. PC) in which a dilemma is presented, becoming more utilitarian when using smartphones," researchers said in the paper.The participants in the study were presented various moral dilemmas with the same premise. The central premise was whether to sacrifice one person to save a group of people. Overall, users tended to make more utilitarian judgements through smartphones - meaning they chose to sacrifice someone.
"We have shown that people's moral judgments become more utilitarian when using Smartphones as opposed to PCs," the researchers said.
"In recent years, there have been some concerns that the increasing use of technology in (moral) decision-making and/or communication may have an overall adverse effect," the study said.Researchers are mainly hoping though that the study promotes more consideration of how digital mediums can affect our moral decisions. The issue is particularly pressing in an age where hate speech and political extremism have emerged with greater prominence on social media.