British Journal of Social Psychology

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Volume 34 Issue 3 (September 1995), Pages 223-350

Faking moral judgement on the Defining Issues Test (pages 267-278)

In research by Emler, Renwick & Malone (1983), elevated moral judgement scores obtained under altered test conditions were interpreted as evidence that moral reasoning and political attitudes are essentially the same and that self‐presentational strategies explain many differences in moral judgement that have previously been attributed to cognitive development. In the present study, politically liberal, moderate and conservative subjects completed the Defining Issues Test (DIT) of moral judgement, once from their own perspective and once from the perspective of a liberal/radical. The DIT was modified to include additional anti‐establishment (A) items. Results indicated that subjects responding from the liberal/radical perspective strongly endorsed A items, and consequently decreased their principled moral judgement scores below their normal levels. Such findings contradict the conclusions of Emler et al. and offer an interpretation less antagonistic to cognitive developmental points of view.

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