In her article entitled “A Teen and a Trolley Reveal Society’s Dark Side”, Bethany Brookshire describes the so-called trolley problem and the research conducted by Tiffany Sun in 2015 revealing some of the biases that people have. She also analyzes the results of this research, which revealed significant changes in people’s decision-making process depending on the groups of people they had to sacrifice.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
In general, the trolley problem was created in 1967 by Philippa Foot. In this problem, a person faces a dilemma in which they have to choose between sacrificing one person or five. The situation is as follows: a runaway trolley rushes down the railroad at high speed towards five people; an observer stands near the lever that changes tracks, but on the other track, one person stands; thus, the observer has to decide whether to do nothing and the trolley kills five people or pull the lever and get one person killed (Brookshire, 2015).
Theoretically, if all the six people are identical, the choice for the majority of people is obvious, namely, to get one person killed instead of five. However, in reality, the decision depends on a great variety of factors regarding the physical attractiveness, the state of wealth, and the state of health of that one person on the track.
According to Sun’s research, if a person looked wealthy, only 24% of the respondents decided to sacrifice them, whereas if a person looked poor or wore plain clothes, 59% were willing to kill them. In terms of physical appearance, 44% would kill an attractive person, while 68% would sacrifice an ugly person. Regarding the state of health, 54% of respondents were willing to kill a standing person, whereas 74% decided to sacrifice a person in a wheeling chair (Brookshire, 2015).
Thus, it is obvious that people have many biases, especially when it comes to a sick person. Moreover, this research only presupposes that a person standing on the track is of one particular gender and race and does not take into account those five people who stand on the other track. At first sight, the results seem quite logical because when two people see each other for the first time, they form their opinion according to each other’s appearance.
Therefore, when the observer sees a disabled person, they immediately think that life for this person is harder and that it is better to end the suffering of that person while committing to death a person that looks healthy seems much more difficult (Brookshire, 2015). Nevertheless, the problem is that the idea of killing a person (though unintentionally) is horrible and the results of this study are far from being comforting, as it reveals people’s dark side and their biases.
Referring to Palacio’s novel “Wonder”, it is necessary to point out that Olivia experienced the same feelings when she returned home. Being away from her brother August for too long, her mental connection to him weakened. As a result, she began to perceive him in a way that other people do. His flaws became more vivid to her, and this new perspective begot negative feelings in her mind (Palacio, 2012). At first, she tried to abstract from them, but after several futile attempts, she decided to thoroughly think about these feelings.
100% original paper
on any topic
done in as little as
Thus, this book shows the psychological aspect inherent in the majority of people that causes the feeling of disdain towards sick people (Palacio, 2012). Therefore, it is crucial to learn to suppress these negative feelings, as it is unfair to sick people. Moreover, these feelings almost always disappear if people become closer to sick individuals. In doing so, they can stop judge people on the basis of the state of their health.
Brookshire, B. (2015). A teen and a trolley reveal society’s dark side. Web.
Palacio, R. J. (2012). Wonder. Toronto, ON: Knopf Books for Young Readers.