To kill or not to kill: the effects of social norm and moral frame on pet owners’ decision to euthanize an animal

Chaplin, Sarah (2015). To kill or not to kill: the effects of social norm and moral frame on pet owners’ decision to euthanize an animal Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Chaplin, Sarah
Thesis Title To kill or not to kill: the effects of social norm and moral frame on pet owners’ decision to euthanize an animal
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2015-10-07
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Winnifred Louis
Total pages 56
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Formatted abstract
While the act of killing causes much social harm, there is currently little research into how groups learn to kill. Recent evidence suggests that norms can cause people to learn harmful behaviours. This study investigated the effect of social norms and moral frame on pet owners’ decision to euthanize an animal in a hypothetical situation, measuring how internalised that decision was and if the decision generalised to the perceived ease of euthanizing their own pet. It was predicted that (1) participants in the pro-euthanasia norm condition would be more likely to euthanize than those in the control condition or anti-euthanasia norm condition; (2) participants will internalise the norm they are exposed to;(3) participant will perceive it easier to euthanize their own pet when exposed to the pro-euthanasia norm; (4) the moral frame will weaken the effects of norm on all dependent variables. Participants completed an online study that manipulated social norms and moral frame using established measures and used a pilot-tested hypothetical scenario about an injured cat to test the participants’ willingness to euthanize, how much they internalised the decision and their perceived ease of euthanizing their own pet. Several control variables, such as cat ownership were measured. The results show few effects of social norms and moral frame on the dependent variables, with participants showing an unpredicted effect of moral frame and cat ownership on the perceived ease of euthanizing their own pet. The hypotheses were mostly unsupported but indicate that social norms and frame have some effect on the decision to euthanize.
Keyword Euthanasia
Pet ownership
Social norms
Moral

 
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Created: Fri, 18 Mar 2016, 22:18:47 EST by Stephanie Kerr on behalf of School of Psychology