Major

Psychology

Research Abstract

Research on children’s moral obligation has shown that children ages 8 to 13 years believe it is a moral obligation to help the out-group in high need conditions (Sierksma, Thijs, Verkuyten, 2014). In these high need situations, children feel morally expected to offer help independent of group membership. Less is known about children’s’ moral obligation to the out-group in varying contexts and in situations of varying threat to the in-group (Nesdale, Maass, Durken, & Griffiths, 2005). The current study investigates moral obligation to the in-group and out-group in three contexts (disloyalty via psychological harm to the in-group, disloyalty via physical harm to the in-group, and disloyalty via violation of dress code rules to the in-group). In addition, varying levels of disloyalty were examined (e.g., high cost and low cost disloyalty). This topic of study is crucial in understanding the various intergroup contexts in which children experience moral obligations. The sample consisted of 37 children (Mage=13.27 years; SD=2.22; 68% female). Participants were randomly assigned to three contexts (e.g., physical harm, psychological harm, violation of dress code), each condition included two stories depicting low cost of disloyalty and high cost of disloyalty toward the in-group. Participants responded to two questions about the importance of helping their in-group and the out-group (e.g., “How important was it for X to try to get more water for your/the other group?” Likert-type scale: 1=really not important, 6= really important). Repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted with importance of helping (in-group vs. out- group) as the repeated measure and context as the between subject factor. Participants evaluated helping the in-group as more important than helping the out-group in both low cost and high cost situations. This was evidenced by main effects for both low cost (F(1,34)=13.47 p

Faculty Mentor/Advisor

Aline Hitti

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Apr 15th, 12:00 AM

Moral Obligation and Evaluating Group Disloyalty Among Children

Research on children’s moral obligation has shown that children ages 8 to 13 years believe it is a moral obligation to help the out-group in high need conditions (Sierksma, Thijs, Verkuyten, 2014). In these high need situations, children feel morally expected to offer help independent of group membership. Less is known about children’s’ moral obligation to the out-group in varying contexts and in situations of varying threat to the in-group (Nesdale, Maass, Durken, & Griffiths, 2005). The current study investigates moral obligation to the in-group and out-group in three contexts (disloyalty via psychological harm to the in-group, disloyalty via physical harm to the in-group, and disloyalty via violation of dress code rules to the in-group). In addition, varying levels of disloyalty were examined (e.g., high cost and low cost disloyalty). This topic of study is crucial in understanding the various intergroup contexts in which children experience moral obligations. The sample consisted of 37 children (Mage=13.27 years; SD=2.22; 68% female). Participants were randomly assigned to three contexts (e.g., physical harm, psychological harm, violation of dress code), each condition included two stories depicting low cost of disloyalty and high cost of disloyalty toward the in-group. Participants responded to two questions about the importance of helping their in-group and the out-group (e.g., “How important was it for X to try to get more water for your/the other group?” Likert-type scale: 1=really not important, 6= really important). Repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted with importance of helping (in-group vs. out- group) as the repeated measure and context as the between subject factor. Participants evaluated helping the in-group as more important than helping the out-group in both low cost and high cost situations. This was evidenced by main effects for both low cost (F(1,34)=13.47 p