The Self as a Moral Basis: Do Our Own Patterns of Behavior Affect our Moral Attributions?

Stewart, Niall A. (2016) The Self as a Moral Basis: Do Our Own Patterns of Behavior Affect our Moral Attributions? Bachelor's thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

To determine which actions are morally acceptable, psychologists typically focus on decision making within existing moral paradigms. However, this fails to comment upon individual and social processes, such as attribution, that determine morality. To address these processes, this study had participants respond to morally-charged scenarios by rating the immorality of an actor who did not tip a waiter (n = 125), was partial to infidelity (n = 128), and texted while driving (n = 128). Participants also completed an empathy measure, and provided their own frequency of engaging in certain behaviors, including those featured in the scenarios. Immorality ratings were compared to the participants’ own frequency of the scenario action (hypothesized to lower ratings), as well as empathy and outcome severity (both hypothesized to increase ratings). Findings were assessed in three regressions, one per scenario. Behavioral similarity predicted immorality ratings in each (p ≤ .03), empathy predicted ratings only for not tipping a waiter (p = .04), while outcome severity was un-predictive in each scenario. Theoretical implications, directions for future research, and limitations of the study are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12178
Item ID: 12178
Additional Information: “Includes bibliographical references (pages 43-48)”
Department(s): Grenfell Campus > Division of Social Science > Psychology
Grenfell Campus > Division of Social Science
Date: 2016
Date Type: Submission

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