Establishing the Moral Domain as an individual differences construct
Ewan Keith Dissertation 2014.pdf (1.423Mb)
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Empirical research into human morality has historically suffered from a lack of fundamental agreement over the appropriate domain of study, with disagreements over what constitutes a ‘moral’ concern. Moral Foundations Theory provides strong theoretical grounds for establishing a universal moral domain as a foundation for future research. This dissertation seeks to extend factor analytic work carried out by Graham, et al. (2011) in this area, proposing a five factor model of the moral domain, by investigating the covariance structure of responses to a wide range of morality questionnaires collected from a large, representative US sample employing exploratory and confirmatory factor analytic techniques. A model closely resembling the five-factor model of past work was found to be the best fit to the data, providing a replication of past work. The results also suggested the existence of a discrete ‘spirituality’ domain and raised concerns over the use of ‘trade-off’ style items in investigating moral attitudes. It is argued that the promise of such research lies in the potential to establish human morality as an individual differences construct, akin to intelligence or personality.