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Moral Decision-making in Real Life: factors affecting moral orientation and behaviour justification

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The study addresses two separate but related issues in connection with people's real-life moral decisions and judgements. First, the notion of moral orientation is examined in terms of its consistency across varying contexts, its relation to gender and to gender role. Secondly, a new aspect of moral reasoning is explored—the influence on moral decision-making of considering the consequences of an action. Fifty-eight undergraduate students were asked to discuss two personal and two impersonal real-life moral dilemmas. The results reveal a significant interaction between gender role and type of dilemma. However, moral orientation was not consistent across various dilemmas and gender was not related to any particular orientation. Also the results indicate a significant difference between the reasoning of consequences of personal-antisocial conflicts and impersonal-antisocial conflicts. These findings suggest that different moral orientations may be embedded in life experience and connect with an individual's sense of his or her moral identity in real-life situations.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2002

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