Francis, KB ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3875-8904, Gummerum, M, Ganis, G, Howard, IS and Terbeck, S (2018) Virtual morality in the helping professions: Simulated action and resilience. British Journal of Psychology, 109 (3). 442 - 465.

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Abstract

Recent advances in virtual technologies have allowed the investigation of simulated moral actions in aversive moral dilemmas. Previous studies have employed diverse populations to explore these actions, with little research considering the significance of occupation on moral decision‐making. For the first time, in this study we have investigated simulated moral actions in virtual reality made by professionally trained paramedics and fire service incident commanders who are frequently faced with and must respond to moral dilemmas. We found that specially trained individuals showed distinct empathic and related personality trait scores and that these declined with years of experience working in the profession. Supporting the theory that these professionals develop resilience in moral conflict, reduced emotional arousal was observed during virtual simulations of a distressing dilemma. Furthermore, trained professionals demonstrated less regret following the execution of a moral action in virtual reality when compared to untrained control populations. We showed that, contrary to previous research, trained individuals made the same moral judgements and moral actions as untrained individuals, though showing less arousal and regret. In the face of increasing concerns regarding empathy decline in health care professionals, we suggest that the nature of this decline is complex and likely reflects the development of a necessary emotional resilience to distressing events.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Wiley at https://doi.org/10.1111/bjop.12276 - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2021 16:01
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 16:02
URI: https://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/9345

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