Men Are More Likely to Go Back in Time and Kill Hitler Than Women Are, Says Study

Researchers in the US, Canada, and Germany collated sample data from more than 6,100 participants across 40 previous "moral dilemma"–style psychological studies to come to this conclusion.

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Apr 13 2015, 4:35pm

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This article originally appeared on VICE UK.

Men are more likely to go back in time and kill Yung Hitler than women are, according to an actual psychological study published this month.

This study ignores a number of quite crucial scientific facts about the current state of time travel, but there we go. "Do STEM subjects!" people tell you. "Not this writing nonsense! Do something real with your life! Do a real subject with real-world applications! Science!" And to those people I say: What about this Hitler killing study, then? What now? Where's your science now?

Anyway, you know the theory: Time travel is invented and you—for some reason, despite your complete lack of experience murdering anything other than I Will Survive at a karaoke bar—are chosen to be the first person to go back in time, and they give you a gun, the scientists, they give you a loaded gun and they say: Gokill Hitler, will you? He was a proper dickhead. And then you go back in time to around 1905—Hitler was about 16, then, and rarely guarded by armed Nazis because Nazis hadn't been invented yet—and you shoot him in the balls, face, balls, and balls again. Then you come back to the present day and nobody even cares what you did because Hitler never even happened on their timeline. That's the worst thing: You killed Hitler and nobody even cares. You killed Hitler and you didn't even get a Wikipedia page. People are all like, "Yo, where is my Volkswagen? I swear I used to have a Volkswagen. It was parked, like, right here." And you wipe the Hitler blood off your tracksuit and go: Well, that was a waste of time.

Would you do that, though? If you are a man: probably. If you are a woman: less so, according to researchers in the United States, Canada, and Germany, who collated sample Hitler-killing data from over 6,100 participants across 40 previous "moral dilemma"–style psychological studies. They found that men and women both calculate the cost of one murder versus all the potential lives lost, but women were more likely to be conflicted about the whole thing and men were more likely to straight-up do a murder.

"Women seem to be more likely to have this negative, emotional, gut-level reaction to causing harm to people in the dilemmas, to the one person, whereas men were less likely to express this strong emotional reaction to harm," lead author Rebecca Friesdorf told NPR.

The study—published this month in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin—examines the gender differences in various moral judgments (abortion, torture, Hitler murders) and their application in various real-world scenarios. Example: If you wouldn't kill Hitler, then a small-scale sacrificial judgment like which member of a team to fire to help the rest of the group might be more difficult to make should you ever pack the time-traveling assassin thing in and manage a big ASDA instead. "If these [gender] differences also hold in that context, then that could have some implications for how women and men are making those decisions," Friesdorf says.

Each and every day, we are constantly killing our own personal Hitlers.

There are other ways of dealing with Hitler, of course, beyond straight-up murdering him with a gun. Buy him a nice paint set and a Life Drawing for Dummies book. Say things like, "No, that painting of a building is actually good." Take him bowling, or something. A lot of this could have been avoided if he just had a nice friend. Moral dilemma: Would you be Hitler's best friend if it meant avoiding a war? Would you go paintballing with Hitler? He was probably the type to get really into paintball and bring his own custom-made paintball gun to the range with him. You turn up one Saturday and Hitler has had matching camouflage one-pieces made up with your surnames on the back and "BEST BUDZ" across the bottom in stenciled letters. Every Friday night, he's texting you. "Don't have too many beers tonight, mate!" Hitler is saying. "Paintball tomorrow, remember!" Hitler's outside your house at 6 AM on a Saturday, idling the van, ready to drive you both to a paintball tournament in Swynnerton. The only songs he plays in the car are by Rammstein and he won't let you get out to piss because you're "making really good time." He has been talking about compressed air for 45 straight minutes. Do it. This isn't a moral dilemma. Do it. Don't be his friend. You don't need this. Do it. Kill Hitler. Single paintball pellet to the base of the skull. Do it. Do us all a favor and kill Hitler.

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