Trolley Problem Experiment Run IRL

post by Eneasz · 2017-12-07T04:32:19.927Z · score: 15 (4 votes) · LW · GW · 9 comments

This is a link post for

Neat show. Claims to be the first time the Trolley Experiment was actually run in the real world.

The host of this show set up a Trolley Problem. Subjects were convinced they were part of a focus group about commuter rail. They're placed in a switching station, that mointors tracks remotely via CCTV, while waiting for the focus group to begin. A kindly old conductor shows them the ropes, and even has them switch a train coming down the tracks from one track to the other just for fun. Then he's called away.

While he's gone, convincing video footage is played of a 5-and-1 constructions workers stationing themselves on the two tracks. And then footage is played of an oncoming train that will hit the group of 5. The subject must choose to throw the switch or not, they don't have a lot of time, maybe a minute?

Test was run 7 times. How many people do you predict flipped the switch to save net-4 lives IRL? (answer in comment below)


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by gjm · 2017-12-07T18:13:24.941Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I expected that zbfg fhowrpgf jbhyq abg fjvgpu, rira nzbat gubfr jub jbhyq unir fnvq gurl jbhyq. I was really surprised when I saw that gurve svefg fhowrpg qvq fjvgpu. Not hugely surprised that vg ghearq bhg gb or gjb bhg bs frira, gubhtu V guvax V'q unir thrffrq whfg bar. (Unfortunately I saw Eneasz's comment very early, so wasn't in a position to make an independent guess.) I wonder what fraction of people who have already thought about the trolley problem would make the decision they regard as correct; I'm guessing maybe gjb guveqf be fb.

I wouldn't be astonished to find that entirelyuseless2 is right about the whole thing being fake, but my guess is that it isn't.

comment by entirelyuseless2 · 2017-12-07T13:43:53.289Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I predict the video was faked (i.e. that everyone in it knows what is happening and that in fact there was not even a test like this.)

comment by Eneasz · 2017-12-07T04:32:39.216Z · score: -5 (3 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)


2 of 7

comment by Raemon · 2017-12-07T21:52:16.161Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I am super curious why this was downvoted.

comment by spiralingintocontrol · 2017-12-07T23:15:51.441Z · score: 3 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Because it's spoilers? ... and not in rot13.

comment by Raemon · 2017-12-07T23:54:51.432Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Ah, if it was intentional I can just retract my upvote.

comment by gjm · 2017-12-07T23:56:04.663Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's certainly why I downvoted it. The OP invited readers to make a guess, and Eneasz's comment made it much harder to make a guess before seeing the answer.

comment by Raemon · 2017-12-08T02:37:32.412Z · score: 5 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

>The OP invited readers to make a guess, and Eneasz's comment made it much harder to make a guess before seeing the answer.

Not the biggest of deals, but this is worded such that it sounds like the OP's author and Eneasz are two different people. The OP specifically says "answer in a comment", so I didn't read the comments until I'd thought about it and guessed, which seemed fine to me.

comment by gjm · 2017-12-08T03:07:21.676Z · score: 4 (1 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Huh. I ... hadn't noticed that Eneasz was the OP, and I had interpreted "answer in comment below" as "why don't you put your answers in comments" rather than "I am going to put the answer in a comment".

I still think that putting the answer in a highly-visible comment was a bad thing to do, and the fact that that comment is substantially downvoted now gets it auto-hidden which is probably a good thing for that reason -- but I am upvoting the original post and looking for something else of Eneasz's to upvote by way of compensation.