Asst. Prof. Dr.

Topics: Morality, Ethics, Kohlberg's stages of moral development Pages: 224 (33496 words) Published: December 23, 2013
INITIAL DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOMETRIC CHARACTERISTICS OF
THE MORAL COGNITION INVENTORY

HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY
by
Jessica Black

Thesis Presented to
The Faculty of Humboldt State University

In Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Arts in Psychology
May, 2012

INITIAL DEVELOPMENT AND PSYCHOMETRIC CHARACTERISTICS OF
THE MORAL COGNITION INVENTORY

HUMBOLDT STATE UNIVERSITY

by
Jessica Black

Approved by the Master’s Thesis Committee

Dr. William M. Reynolds, Major Professor

Date

Dr. Christopher Aberson, Committee Member

Date

Dr. John W. Powell, Committee Member

Date

Dr. Christopher Aberson, Graduate Coordinator

Date

Dr. Jená Burges, Vice Provost

Date

Initial development and psychometric characteristics of
the Moral Cognition Inventory

Jessica Black

The need for a measure that encompasses the various components of moral decisionmaking has become increasingly apparent as different areas of psychology, particularly cognitive neuroscience, focus more time and resources on how people make moral choices. My ultimate purpose is to develop the Moral Cognition Inventory (MCI), a comprehensive measure of moral cognition that will facilitate investigation of the construct’s distinct aspects. The MCI will include four components, Responsibility, Identity, Cognition, and Community. The primary objective of this research was to validate the first two scales, Moral Responsibility and Moral Identity, and to test a partial structural model.

Three surveys were offered through Survey Monkey. The first included the MCI and eight validation measures. The second included the MCI and the Defining Issues Test 2. The third was a brief retest survey. A sample of over 450 participants (mean age = 35.5) recruited through the HSU Psychology Department Research Participation pool and via online social networking completed the MCI and one or more of the validation scales. iii

The Moral Identity Scale, which measures the salience of integrity and moral values within a person’s character, proved reliable (rα = .90, N = 438) and valid, with strong correlations to measures of similar constructs. The Moral Responsibility Scale (rα = .86, N = 389) with its three subscales, Moral Agency, Identification, and Consequences, assesses a range of moral behavior; hypotheses related to its validity were similarly confirmed, although CFA demonstrated a need to perfect the scale. Structural Equation Modeling of MCI constructs was a success: the hypothesized model was a good fit, and other similar models were excellent. Further model testing in different populations is needed to finalize model selection.

iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to everyone who has helped me through the process of ideating, developing, carrying out the research for, and writing my thesis. Staff and faculty at Humboldt State have been wonderful sources of information and support. I could not have done it without them. First and foremost, I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. William Reynolds, for his guidance and instruction throughout the process, particularly for his unusual flexibility in adapting to my harried timeline. I am extremely grateful for all that time and knowledge he has shared with me.

Dr. Chris Aberson has been a constant source of information and encouragement. Few professors are willing to answer questions on all things statistical at all hours, even when on paternity leave. Beyond that, Dr. Aberson has given me advice and support on many aspects of my academic career.

I came to HSU to study psychology, but not long after my first semester began, I made my way to the philosophy department to talk with Dr. John Powell. Ever since then, Dr. Powell’s kindness and his willingness to discuss philosophy (and even, when pressed, moral psychology) have been a delightful part of my learning process. I would also like to thank Dr....

Citations: Rest, 1979; Gibbs et al.,
1992;
inability to accept the consequences Schwartz, 1968, Schwartz
of actions leads to delinquent and/or & Howard, 1984
Pasupathi & Wainryb,
2010)
Schlenker, 2008
Integrity Scale
Aquino & Reed, 2002
Moral Identity Scale
Haidt, 2001
Moral Foundations
Sunstein, 2005
none
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