Moral reasoning in hypothetical and actual situations

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Gerard Sumprer
Eliot J. Butter
Cite this article:  Sumprer, G., & Butter, E. (1978). Moral reasoning in hypothetical and actual situations. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 6(2), 205-210.


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The assumption that the level of reasoning a person uses in seeking a solution to hypothetical moral dilemmas is the same as the level used in solving actual moral dilemmas was addressed. College students were first given the Defining Issues Test. Two months later they were presented with two moral dilemmas. Some of the students were led to believe these dilemmas would affect them while others were led to believe they would affect other students. Both groups' scores on the Defining Issues Test were significantly correlated with the scores on the two additional dilemmas. No differences were found in the level of moral reasoning used in the actual versus hypothetical group. Results were discussed in terms of differences between the Defining Issues Test and the Moral Judgment Scale of Kohlberg.
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© 1978 Scientific Journal Publishers Limited. All Rights Reserved.