INTELLIGENCE, SEX, AND BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF MORAL REASONING OF PUBLIC JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

JOHN JOSEPH SIEFRING, Fordham University

Abstract

This study investigated the relationship between the moral reasoning and intelligence. In addition, differences between male and female levels of moral reasoning were examined. Finally, the relationship between moral reasoning and two behavioral correlates, impulse control and social conformity were explored.^ A total of 80 public junior high school students were randomly assigned to groups by intelligence level and sex. The following levels of intelligence comprised each group: educably retarded, average, superior, and gifted. There were 10 males and 10 females in each group. Subjects were drawn from a middle class, suburban, public junior high school setting.^ The first hypothesis stated that there would be no significant mean differences in moral reasoning between public junior high school students when grouped for either intelligence or for sex. The second hypothesis stated that there would be no significant interaction between the mean effects of intelligence and sex for public junior high school students upon moral reasoning. The third hypothesis stated that there would be no significant correlation between impulse control and moral reasoning. The final hypothesis stated there would be no significant correlation between social conformity and moral reasoning.^ In this study, the Defining Issues Test was utilized to operationally define moral reasoning. The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised was the measure of levels of intelligence. The Burks Behavior Rating Scale was used to operationally define the behavioral correlates of impulse control and social conformity as observed in the classroom setting.^ A two-way analysis of variance was employed to determine the effects of sex and intelligence upon moral reasoning. In order to explore the specific relationship between intelligence and moral reasoning, a Pearson product-moment correlation was calculated. Finally, a Pearson r was obtained to measure the contribution of level of moral reasoning to impulse control and social conformity. Results of the statistical analyses reflected a significant relationship between moral reasoning and level of intelligence. There was no significant difference between males and females regarding levels of moral reasoning. The results indicated that both social conformity and impulse control were significantly related to moral reasoning.^ It was concluded that intelligence was a more important factor in the development of moral reasoning than previously indicated in the literature. It also appeared that sex was not a significant factor in moral reasoning. In addition, it would seem that one's level of moral reasoning affects impulse control and social conformity. Recommendations were made for future research in the area of moral reasoning: an investigation of moral reasoning among gifted children; the study of various methods of assessment of moral reasoning; research among unique populations such as teachers, lawyers, and physicians; finally, intervention studies to determine specific methods of facilitating moral development. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

SIEFRING, JOHN JOSEPH, "INTELLIGENCE, SEX, AND BEHAVIORAL CORRELATES OF MORAL REASONING OF PUBLIC JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8120076.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8120076

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