ERIC Number: ED236518
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Effect of Training on Reasoning in Moral Choice.
Kaplan, Martin F.
Moral development is viewed as a matter of progression in the cognitive reasoning and rationale underlying choices and judgments. Traditionally, retrospective reports of rationales have been used to measure moral development levels, resulting in unreliable information. Information Integration Theory attempts to assess individual differences in social judgment reasoning by assigning scale values and weights to information. To investigate the effects of training on reasoning in moral choice following Information Integration Theory, 16 high school students (8 from a training course in moral decision making and 8 from a control group), evaluated eight moral dilemmas from Rest's Defining Issues Tests. On a 1-20 scale students indicated how strongly they felt the character in each dilemma should engage in the alternate target acts. An analysis of the results showed that those students completing moral decision training made more moralistic choices than the control group. The trained group were similar to controls in the use of rationales, but they showed less relativism in integrating those rationales. Formal moral education, instead of maturing the reasoning process, imparted a greater sense of moralism and led to a retrogression in the complexity of reasoning about the integration of decision elements. Future course content in moral education should focus on critical thinking and training in weighting and reasoning strategies, rather than the current practice of directly training moral values. (BL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Information Integration Theory; Moral Reasoning
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (29th, Chicago, IL, May 5-7, 1983). Figure 1 is marginally reproducible.