A study of moral development, with special reference to psychological needs, human relationships and structures of judgement
This study consists of two parts: the first part is the establishment of a theoretical model of moral development and the second part is an empirical study which includes the construction of a new psychological test called The Moral Development Test (MDT). The proposed theory postulates the following three parameters to explain the fundamental nature of moral development: Basic Psychological Needs (Parameter N), Human Relationships (R) and Structures of Judgmeht (J). Different current theories are applied in the elaboration of the above three parameters: Humanistic Psychology particularly Maslow's Theory for N, Sociobiological Theory of Kinship for R and Cognitive-developmental theory for J. The theory is a 7-stage model. In addition, an attempt is made to employ the Chinese Tao Philosophy in the primitive establishment of a theoretical basis for the Ultimate Stage of Human Development i.e. Stage 7 in the theory. The derivation of the theory is mathematically oriented. The MDT is constructed mainly for validating the above theoretical model. Each form of the MDT consists of five or six hypothetical dilemmas. The questions for each dilemma are divided into two parts. Part I is used to test the Parameters N and R and Part II the Parameter J. It was found that the test-retest and internal consistency reliabilities of the major MDT indices (labelled as NRRJ and WNRRJ indices) were usually in the 0.80s to 0.90s. The face validity, convergent-divergent validity and the construct validity have been demonstrated to be good. In addition, results of cross-cultural analyses using the English (London) and Chinese (Hong Kong) samples also support the cultural universal hypothesis of the present theoretical model. Nevertheless, the MDT only explores features of moral development up to the fifth stage of the present 7-stage model.