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Bioethical Judgments in a Social and Learning Environment

Project Description:

In everyday life, we rarely make ethical decisions without consulting others. Yet to date, philosophical moral psychology has largely focused on individual moral judgments. Our project aims to advance research on this point, studying bioethical judgments by way of example. In particular, we investigate the impact of discussion and training on those judgments.

Our project proceeds in two steps: during the first, we develop a questionnaire to measure bioethical opinions in laypeople. In three pilot studies conducted in 2017/18, we have developed and refined this tool, and are currently finalizing the survey in order to validate it in a larger sample.

Second, we aim to use the questionnaire to test the impact of training and social interaction on bioethical judgments. Specifically, we administer our questionnaire to students participating in an extracurricular training program run by the German Cancer Research Center. Comparing data from participants before and after training, and with a group not participating in the training scheme, respectively, we aim to shed light on the question of whether education and discussion may change people’s views on ethical matters.


  • Nora Heinzelmann (PI)
  • Ophelia Deroy
  • Benedikt Höltgen (RA)
  • Viet Tran


  • Johannes Dörflinger (Konstanz)
  • Lea Oppermann (Konstanz)
  • Katrin Platzer (German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg)
  • Frank Rösl (German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg)


  • Bahador Bahrami (MPI, Berlin)
  • Joaquin Navajas (Buenos Aires)

LMU Alumni:

  • Luis Hillebrand
  • Martin Hofer
  • Martin Dockendorff


  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)