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postgraduate thesis: Psychological underpinnings of moral decision making : the role of trait and state mindfulness

TitlePsychological underpinnings of moral decision making : the role of trait and state mindfulness
Authors
Issue Date2016
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Yung, Y. S. [翁婉雯]. (2016). Psychological underpinnings of moral decision making : the role of trait and state mindfulness. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.
AbstractResearch in moral decision making has revealed associations between some personal characteristics and moral judgments or prosocial behaviours, but those factors have not been put together to predict moral decision making. The different conceptualizations of moral judgment and the use of different assessment tools have resulted in some inconclusive or incomparable findings in the past decades. Most of the studies regarding moral decision making focus on endorsing utilitarian and nonutilitarian responses, despite the recent suggestions challenging the notion of utilitarianism as the optimal evaluation of moral judgement. Given the strong evidence supporting the relations between emotions and moral judgment, and the benefits of mindfulness in regulating emotional responses and allowing us to make more conscious choices, it is worth exploring the role of mindfulness as a trait and a state in moral decision making. The studies in this thesis attempted to expand our knowledge of moral decision-making processes by borrowing the enlightened way of thinking from a prominent moral philosopher, Immanuel Kant, to form a measurement of moral compliance in making moral decisions. The first part of Study 1 developed a measurement, the Moral Compliance Scale-Chinese (MCS-C), to measure the new construct of moral compliance as part of the moral decision-making process. Moral compliance was found to be a construct distinct from the stages of moral development and the preferences of endorsing utilitarian responses in moral decision making. The second part of Study 1 describes the translation and initial validation of the State Mindfulness Scale-Chinese (SMS-C); a four-factor structure was found, as compared to the original two-factor structure. Both the MCS-C and the SMS-C demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties. Study 2 examined personal factors affecting moral decisions. Results indicated that education, idealistic and relativistic ethical orientation, and the psychological states of the individuals involved were associated with utilitarian decisions. The role of mindfulness in endorsing utilitarian responses was not supported in the present studies. On the other hand, moral compliance is associated with age, deliberative thinking styles, compassion, and trait and state mindfulness. State mindfulness was also found to moderate the effect of trait mindfulness in predicting moral compliance. Moral compliance was additionally found to be associated with positive psychological states and trait mindfulness was found to be a mediator between positive mood states, depression, anxiety, and perceived stress in predicting moral compliance. In Study 3, it was shown that a brief induction of state mindfulness failed to influence moral decision making, nor was it able to moderate the effect of mood states on moral decision making. Nevertheless, the successful induction of mindfulness through just a 10-minute manipulation in a controlled experimental study provided empirical evidence for the context sensitivity of state mindfulness, as measured by the translated and validated SMS-C in Study 1. These studies expanded our knowledge of moral decision processes by introducing the construct of moral compliance, and provided initial support for the role of mindfulness as a moderator and mediator in the process.
DegreeDoctor of Psychology
SubjectEthics
Mindfulness (Psychology)
Dept/ProgramClinical Psychology
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/252058

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorYung, Yuen-man, Samantha-
dc.contributor.author翁婉雯-
dc.date.accessioned2018-04-09T14:36:58Z-
dc.date.available2018-04-09T14:36:58Z-
dc.date.issued2016-
dc.identifier.citationYung, Y. S. [翁婉雯]. (2016). Psychological underpinnings of moral decision making : the role of trait and state mindfulness. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/252058-
dc.description.abstractResearch in moral decision making has revealed associations between some personal characteristics and moral judgments or prosocial behaviours, but those factors have not been put together to predict moral decision making. The different conceptualizations of moral judgment and the use of different assessment tools have resulted in some inconclusive or incomparable findings in the past decades. Most of the studies regarding moral decision making focus on endorsing utilitarian and nonutilitarian responses, despite the recent suggestions challenging the notion of utilitarianism as the optimal evaluation of moral judgement. Given the strong evidence supporting the relations between emotions and moral judgment, and the benefits of mindfulness in regulating emotional responses and allowing us to make more conscious choices, it is worth exploring the role of mindfulness as a trait and a state in moral decision making. The studies in this thesis attempted to expand our knowledge of moral decision-making processes by borrowing the enlightened way of thinking from a prominent moral philosopher, Immanuel Kant, to form a measurement of moral compliance in making moral decisions. The first part of Study 1 developed a measurement, the Moral Compliance Scale-Chinese (MCS-C), to measure the new construct of moral compliance as part of the moral decision-making process. Moral compliance was found to be a construct distinct from the stages of moral development and the preferences of endorsing utilitarian responses in moral decision making. The second part of Study 1 describes the translation and initial validation of the State Mindfulness Scale-Chinese (SMS-C); a four-factor structure was found, as compared to the original two-factor structure. Both the MCS-C and the SMS-C demonstrated satisfactory psychometric properties. Study 2 examined personal factors affecting moral decisions. Results indicated that education, idealistic and relativistic ethical orientation, and the psychological states of the individuals involved were associated with utilitarian decisions. The role of mindfulness in endorsing utilitarian responses was not supported in the present studies. On the other hand, moral compliance is associated with age, deliberative thinking styles, compassion, and trait and state mindfulness. State mindfulness was also found to moderate the effect of trait mindfulness in predicting moral compliance. Moral compliance was additionally found to be associated with positive psychological states and trait mindfulness was found to be a mediator between positive mood states, depression, anxiety, and perceived stress in predicting moral compliance. In Study 3, it was shown that a brief induction of state mindfulness failed to influence moral decision making, nor was it able to moderate the effect of mood states on moral decision making. Nevertheless, the successful induction of mindfulness through just a 10-minute manipulation in a controlled experimental study provided empirical evidence for the context sensitivity of state mindfulness, as measured by the translated and validated SMS-C in Study 1. These studies expanded our knowledge of moral decision processes by introducing the construct of moral compliance, and provided initial support for the role of mindfulness as a moderator and mediator in the process. -
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.-
dc.subject.lcshEthics-
dc.subject.lcshMindfulness (Psychology)-
dc.titlePsychological underpinnings of moral decision making : the role of trait and state mindfulness-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Psychology-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineClinical Psychology-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2016-
dc.identifier.mmsid991043983780703414-

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