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Title: A social information processing approach to moral decision-making and moral development : bridging the gap between developmental psychology and social neuroscience
Author: Garrigan, Beverley
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 5570
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2017
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In order to bring together developmental psychology and social neuroscience approaches to moral decision-making, several theoretical approaches were integrated, creating the Social Information Processing-Moral Decision-making framework (SIP-MDM). Initially, a systematic review and meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies of moral decision-making was conducted. The meta-analysis identified brain regions that consistently show increased activation when making moral decisions. Analysis also revealed that making one’s own moral response decisions is associated with increased activation in additional brain areas compared to when making moral evaluations. Secondly, an empirical study using a typically developing sample of eighty 11-18 year olds explored hypotheses generated from the SIP-MDM framework. Moral reasoning, working memory and some social information processing (SIP) skills were found to positively correlate with age, and moral reasoning predicted some steps of the SIP MDM framework. There was a significant relationship between moral reasoning and working memory but not between moral reasoning and perspective taking, empathy, or emotion recognition, calling largely untested theoretical assumptions into question. There were also no significant relationships between moral reasoning and self or parent reported behavioural difficulties. A final study used two different instruments to measure and compare the moral reasoning of twenty 11-21 year olds with acquired brain injuries (ABIs) to twenty neurologically healthy (NH) adolescents, matched on age and gender. The Sociomoral Reasoning Measure-Short Form (SRM-SF) and the So-Mature measures had satisfactory psychometric properties for the ABI and NH group. The ABI group showed developmentally immature moral reasoning compared to the NH group for reasoning about moral response decisions, based on scores for the So- Mature, but there were no significant group differences for reasoning about moral values, based on scores for the SRM-SF. So-Mature scores negatively correlated with self-report behavioural difficulties for the ABI group but there were no significant relationships between moral reasoning and behaviour for the NH group.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available