Judgments of the Fairness of Using Performance Enhancing Drugs
Ethics and Behavior 2005; 15(1): 81-94
Undergraduates (total N=185) were asked about performance-affecting drugs. Some drugs supposedly affected athletic performance, others memory, and other attention. Some improved performance for anyone who took them, others for the top 10% of performers, others for the bottom 10%, and finally, yet other drugs worked only on the bottom 10% who also showed physical abnormalities. Participants were asked about the fairness of allowing the drug to be used, about banning it, and about whether predictions of future performance based on testing with or without the drug were better. The study found that participants appreciated the "interaction effect," that they felt it was less unfair to allow the drug if it affected the bottom 10% than if it affected everyone, and they were more eager to have the drug banned if it affected everyone. Participants were least tolerant of drugs that affected athletic performance and most tolerant of those that affected attention.
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