Moral Outrage in the Digital Age with Molly Crockett

by Scott Barry Kaufman, April 4, 2019

Today it’s a pleasure to have Molly Crockett on the podcast. Dr. Crockett is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. Prior to joining Yale, Dr Crockett was a faculty member at the University of Oxford’s Department of Experimental Psychology and a Fellow of Jesus College. She holds a BSc in Neuroscience from UCLA and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge, and completed a Wellcome Trust Postdoctoral Fellowship with economists and neuroscientists at the University of Zürich and University College London.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The discrepancy between outrage in real life vs. online outrage
  • Cultural evolution and the selection and amplification of online content
  • How basic reinforcement learning principles drive the design of online systems to maximize the amount of time we spend on the platforms
  • Is the “habitual online shamer” addicted to outrage?
  • Habitual behavior vs. addiction
  • Is “outrage fatigue” happening en masse?
  • Should we be thinking about rationing our outrage (reserving it for issues we find most important)?
  • The costs and benefits of outrage
  • Why people punish and the discrepancy between the actual reasons why we punish (inferred from behavior) vs. self-reported motives
  • The difficulty doing science on topics that are incredibly heated in public social discourse
  • The intractably intertwined nature of science and social justice
  • What technologies might be doing to the way that young people construe the social world
  • The human capacity for forgiveness
  • Twitter Q & A


One Response to “Moral Outrage in the Digital Age with Molly Crockett”

  1. Lisa Parenica says:

    I really find this episode fascinating, as a young (soon to be ) college student studying pyschology. These basic principles are what we feel and how the brain works and reacts to social media and every day life around certain people we think whether or not they are a good person. And how in a sense media outrage can be like a drug. It is very prevalent in social media. Example, crissy teagen and how she feels about Donald Trump and the constant bashing of him. People can veiw it as crack and theres no rime.or reason besides certain outrages we feel ourselves. Also this podcast has helped me elevate my mind into a better understanding of ones self and the others around me. You’re a great doctor and I strive to be a least and inch of what you embody thank you.

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