Physical Remoteness Makes Killing Easier

For humans, killing is apparently easier when it is done from a remote location. This is extremely relevant given our increasing reliance on drone warfare, in which the decision to drop a bomb is often made by a controller on another continent. In the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, a research team led by psychologist Abraham Rutchick of California State University–Northridge notes that ethicists have fretted about the possibility of such an effect. But scientific evidence has been lacking, largely because of the difficulty of designing an experiment that could test the proposition. Rutchick and his colleagues landed on ladybugs as a substitute target for execution.

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