The trolley problem is a famous ethical thought experiment. It was first proposed in 1967 by Philippa Foot, but remains a hot topic in psychology and philosophy. The difference between the two scenarios we describe here is that the first is an impersonal dilemma, whereas the second is a personal one. These dilemmas activate different areas of the brain: the prefrontal cortex is more active when we consider impersonal dilemmas, and the amygdala is more active when we consider personal ones.
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Key Facts In This Video
The trolley problem asks if you would pull a switch to redirect a train from hitting five people to hitting one person. 00:09
Researchers have found that the brain responds differently to impersonal and personal dilemmas. 02:35
Psychopaths seem to respond the same way to personal and impersonal dilemmas. 03:57