Undergraduate Honours Theses
While there is an increasing body of work on social perceptions of people who make moral decisions, there is limited work on how feelings of trust affect moral dilemma judgements. This exploratory study sought to examine how hypothetical third-party observers affect moral dilemma judgments and perceptions of forgiveness, punishment, and personality traits. A total of 335 participants read a variation of the “car crash” dilemma (Conway et al., 2013), either alone or in the hypothetical presence of a stranger or trusted friend. Individuals were asked to give ratings on various dimension scales from either their own perspective, or from the perception of the stranger or friend who hypothetically observed their dilemma judgement. While participants who completed the survey alone or in the theoretical presence of a friend largely produced results consistent with the literature in this field, those who were in the hypothetical presence of a stranger performed contrary to past findings. Reasons for these findings and possible future directions will be discussed.
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Thesis Advisor : Dr. Irene Cheung