Integrating moral identity and moral judgment to explain everyday moral behavior: a dual-process model

  • Zhixing Xu

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


A dual-process framework argues that both intuition and reflection interact to produce moral decisions. The present dissertation integrated moral identity and moral judgment to explain moral behavior from the dual-process model and its account was tested by three studies. A typical everyday moral behavior of interest in the present research was honest behavior. Participants were introduced to use their intuitive ability to predict the dice number demonstrated on a computer. The reward will base on their self-reported accuracy. Studies examined cheating behavior of individuals who had a chance to lie for money. In study 1, sixty participants with diversified background were recruited in a laboratory study. The results supported that honest behavior was more an intuitive result than a reflective outcome. Honest behavior resulted from the absence of temptation and priming moral constructs increased honest behavior. Study 2 contained two parts, in the first part, the researcher developed a Chinese version of moral identity based on Aquino and Reed’s (2002) work, in the second part, fifty-eight participants’ moral identity was investigated by the instrument in the first part. Their honest behavior was measured in the same task adopted in study 1. The result confirmed that different mechanisms led different people to behave ethically. For people who had strong moral identity, honesty resulted from the absence of temptation, while for individual with weak moral identity, honest behavior resulted from the active resistance of temptation. In study 3, moral identity and moral judgment were integrated to explain moral behavior. A Web-based survey with 437 subjects showed that the relationship between moral identity and moral judgment was significant. Individuals who viewed themselves as moral people preferred formalistic ideals to utilitarian framework when making moral judgment. The follow-up experimental study demonstrated that moral identity and moral judgment interacted together to determine moral behavior. When formalism was coupled with the motivational power of moral identity, individuals were most likely to behave morally.
Date of Award24 Jul 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHing Keung MA (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Honesty
  • Human behavior
  • Identity (Psychology)
  • Judgment (Ethics)

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