Study design (from PNAS article)CIS faculty Prof. Michael Spivey is co-author on a provocative new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This article presents evidence that your moral decisions can be subtly affected by how your eyes move. In their study, Prof. Spivey and his collaborators prompted participants to make a moral decision at different times depending on where participants look. They found that moral decisions can be affected by this process — if you are asked about a difficult moral idea your decision may be different depending on where your eyes were looking right before you were asked! As summarized in this Huffington Post coverage of the article:

The new study — a collaboration between Swedish, British and American researchers — is the first to suggest that a person’s gaze is closely related to the way they make moral decisions, and therefore that a person’s immediate surroundings may exert a significant influence on complex ethical judgments.

Prof. Spivey’s collaboration has now been featured in several news outlets:

Morals Can Be Manipulated (Pacific Standard)
Study: Moral Decisions Can Be Manipulated by Tracking Eye Gaze (Science Blog)
Moral Choices Can Be Manipulated Through Tracking Eye Movement (Tech Times)

Click here to see the original article at PNAS.