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Cocaine, Meth Can Mess With Your Morals

Stimulant use is particularly prevalent in criminal populations, researchers say

(Newser) - Which comes first, the hard drugs or the criminal behavior? Researchers asked essentially that in a study just published in the journal Psychopharmacology in which they investigate whether cocaine and meth use might hamper moral judgment on a neurological level. The short answer is probably, though further research is required.... More »

'Moral Symbols' at Work Can Keep Bad Bosses in Line

'Righteous' quotations, religious items can help workers avoid unethical requests

(Newser) - Could the whole subprime mess have been avoided if bankers had some inspirational Gandhi quotes laying around? That's the question the Chicago Tribune asks after reviewing a study that shows employees who display "moral symbols"—an "ethically righteous quote" or religious item like rosary beads—are... More »

Study: Religion Makes Children Less Generous

Some kids just really don't want to share their stickers

(Newser) - Religion makes people more generous and empathetic toward their neighbor, right? Wrong, according to a study published Thursday in Current Biology. Forbes reports researchers found children from religious backgrounds are actually less altruistic than children from secular households. Researchers tested more than 1,100 Christian, Muslim, and nonreligious children between... More »

Your Essence Is Rooted in Your Character, Not Intellect

Who we are may have more to do with what we stand for than what we know

(Newser) - In an attempt to begin to tackle the age-old question of what shapes one's identity, researchers at Duke and the University of Arizona surveyed the caregivers of those with different neurodegenerative diseases to see which ones seemed most likely to strip away the essence of a person. Reporting in... More »

Men, Women Not Eye-to-Eye on Killing Hitler

Women less likely to commit harm for the 'greater good,' study says

(Newser) - If you had a time machine, would you go back and kill Hitler before he could lead the Nazis? Men and women both see the benefits of such an act, but men seem more likely to pull the trigger, the Independent reports. Researchers came to this conclusion by poring over... More »

Morning People Are Liars at Night

Conversely, night owls are more likely to lie in the morning, study finds

(Newser) - Think morning people are somehow morally superior? Think again, say researchers whose new study, the Morality of Larks and Owls , finds a strong link between a person's ethical inclination and chronotype—which refers to when people are most naturally inclined to be asleep or awake. When outside of one'... More »

We're More Honest in the Morning

As the day goes on, our scruples grow weary

(Newser) - Never trust anyone after lunch. People tend to be a lot more scrupulous in the morning, a new study from Harvard and University of Utah researchers suggests. In a series of experiments, people were asked to solve math problems—some of which were impossible—either in the morning or afternoon,... More »

You're Wrong to Listen to Newtown Tapes

Jeffrey Kluger thinks we're all rubbernecking a tragedy

(Newser) - "If you're careful, you'll get through today without doing something morally monstrous." That's how Jeffrey Kluger begins his meditation on the morality of listening to the Newtown 911 tapes in Time . Yes, he allows, there are "moral lifelines" you can use to justify this... More »

GOP Needs to Get Real About Caring for Poor

Arthur Brooks: Time for conservatives to focus on the needy

(Newser) - The Republican Party has a serious image problem: Too many Americans think the GOP cares "only about the rich and powerful," writes Arthur Brooks at the Wall Street Journal . Indeed, Mitt Romney's 2012 loss can be linked to a single figure: The fact that as of April,... More »

Hey, Guys: Women Are Better People Than You

And we all grow more moral as we age: study

(Newser) - Women are the more moral sex, making choices in light of others' needs, a study suggests. Men, on the other hand, tend to focus on themselves, the Telegraph reports. The female approach "tends to produce better decisions," says the philosopher who conducted the study. But both sexes become... More »

Final Hitchens Book to Hit Shelves Next Year

Morality is based on cancer struggle

(Newser) - For fans of Christopher Hitchens , one final book. A memoir entitled Mortality will be released in early 2012; it's based on a series of articles the journalist wrote for Vanity Fair describing his battle with esophageal cancer, reports the Guardian . A spokesman noted that the book had been in... More »

'Political Morality' Divides America

Krugman: We can't agree on fundamentals; let's strive to raise the tone

(Newser) - Calls for unity are welcome, but it’s time we face facts: America is a country “deeply divided” by “fundamental disagreement about the proper role of government,” writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times . The left believes the wealthy should be taxed to help the poor;... More »

US Charity Pays UK Addict to Get Vasectomy

Start of 'cash for vasectomy' program in Britain

(Newser) - Here's an odd bit of international relations: An American charity has paid a British heroin addict to undergo a vasectomy. The group, called Project Prevention , paid the man about $315 dollars in the hope of preventing him from passing his addiction on to the next generation. The man, John, said... More »

The Pill Is Killing Marriage: Raquel Welch

Birth control is the reason people can't 'keep it in their pants'

(Newser) - Raquel Welch knows exactly why "nobody seems able to keep it in their pants" these days: birth control pills. In an article for CNN , the actress acknowledges the upsides to the Pill but blames it for eroding the institution of marriage—and fueling anarchy. "I'm ashamed to admit... More »

Green Buying Leads to Bad Behavior

After earning 'moral credits,' subjects more likely to cheat, steal

(Newser) - The satisfaction people get from purchasing environmentally friendly products is apt to lead to other selfish, even morally repugnant decisions later, writes Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow on Slate . It's not just the complacency that comes from thinking you've done your part for the planet, however insignificant. It's something researchers call "moral... More »

Obama to Recast Health Reform as Moral Issue

Focus on legislative details has bogged down debate, supporters worry

(Newser) - President Obama is about to start focusing more on the moral aspects of health care reform, stressing the need to provide secure coverage to all Americans, the Wall Street Journal reports. The shift may reflect the concerns of some supporters that Obama has spent too much time talking about the... More »

Parental Angst Is Real Star of 'Evil-Kiddie' Movies

(Newser) - Murderous children have haunted movies since the 1950s—but why, Jonah Weiner wonders on Slate. “The biggest reason for this is the most obvious,” Weiner notes. “What’s creepier than a 4-foot-tall killer in Spongebob pajamas?” But the personification of evil in a child reveals deeper-seated anxieties.... More »

They Don't Call Him Fido for Nothing

Dogs are ethical, full of natural goodness, scientist says

(Newser) - Science is finally catching up to what dog owners have known all along: Canines are ethical. After thousands of hours studying dogs—once dismissed as "furry automatons," an author said—animal behaviorist Marc Bekoff concluded that they possess the capacity for empathy and compassion, the hallmarks of morality.... More »

Arrest Made in 2008 Conn. Hit-and-Run

(Newser) - A year after a hit-and-run accident in downtown Hartford, Conn., captured international attention, and just days after the victim died of his injuries, police have made an arrest, the Courant reports. “The defendant appeared to have remained in the area for at least the past year and never made... More »

Christian Films Tempt $$$-Hungry Hollywood

(Newser) - Lurking behind the mainstream film industry is a low-budget, high-return business poised to break through: the world of Christian filmmaking, NPR reports. Fireproof, a tale of marital woes and redemption, was the highest-grossing independent feature of 2008—a fact trumpeted at a Christian film festival in San Antonio last... More »

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