University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




This research project is part on an ongoing effort in the social sciences to expand the understanding of those factors that may influence and promote moral development. Based on Lawrence Kohlberg’s developmental theory of moral reasoning, the main focus of the current study concerns the exploration of the relationship between moral reasoning and relativistic attitudes.

B-type moral reasoning is a more mature and developed form of reasoning at each of Kohlberg’s Stages 2 through 5. Hypotheses regarding the positive associations between the frequency of its use and scores on measures of relativism, equity, empathy, and open-mindedness were generated. Of the 80 possible associations predicted, all were weak, and only 2 attained an acceptable level of statistical significance. Possible explanations for these results are considered.