This research was supported by Grants 410–89–0649 and 410–91–0510 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Cathy McFarland, Danielle Krebs, Sandra Vermeulen, and the helpful comments from Larry Walker and other colleagues and reviewers.
Variations in Level of Moral Judgment as a Function of Type of Dilemma and Moral Choice
Version of Record online: 28 APR 2006
Journal of Personality
Volume 63, Issue 2, pages 289–313, June 1995
How to Cite
Carpendale, J. I. M. and Krebs, D. L. (1995), Variations in Level of Moral Judgment as a Function of Type of Dilemma and Moral Choice. Journal of Personality, 63: 289–313. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1995.tb00811.x
- Issue online: 28 APR 2006
- Version of Record online: 28 APR 2006
- Manuscript received December 8, 1992; revised January 17, 1994.
This study compares the predictive power of two models of moral judgment: (a) Kohlberg's model, which predicts stage consistency across varying content, and (b) a model that predicts variations in stage as a function of complex interactions between people and social contexts. Forty university students were asked to make and justify choices on three moral dilemmas—a dilemma involving the sale of defective merchandise (selling dilemma) and two dilemmas from Kohlberg's test of moral judgment. Half the participants made hypothetical choices on the selling dilemma; the other half were offered a selfish incentive—money—for concealing the defects in the merchandise. In support of the interactional model, (a) participants scored lower on the selling dilemma than on Kohlberg's test, (b) the monetary incentive affected moral choices, (c) participants justified the choice to conceal defects in the merchandise with significantly lower stage moral judgments than they invoked in support of the decision to disclose its defects, and (d) participants who upheld the choice to disclose supported it with higher stage justifications than those who rejected it. Surprisingly, however, participants who stood to make money disclosed more about the defects in the article and charged less than participants who did not.