Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. W. Pitt Derryberry (Director), Dr. Frederick Grieve, Dr. Phil Pegg


Appendices B and C removed due to copyright issues.

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Research in moral psychology has focused on understanding what factors assist in the development of moral action and decision making. Examples of these research factors include educational experiences (Rest et al, 1986), intelligence (Rest, 1979), and social networking (Derryberry & Thoma, 2000). Personality factors facilitating moral judgment have also receive attention in recent years with Damon and Hart (1988) exploring self-understanding as a possible factor in moral judgment and Baumeister and Exline (1999) proposing that exercising self-control is often characteristic of those who often employ prosocial behavior. Pizarro (2000) suggested that those who fail to utilize empathy may think about moral issues just as those who do employ empathy but find them easier to ignore. This study attempted to explore this research from a different angle by examining the relationships between antisocial personality traits as opposed to prosocial personality traits. To measure these traits, data were collected from two samples comprised of 120 college students and 24 prisoners from a state-inmate facility. The Defining Issues Test (DIT) was used to measure moral judgment and the Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI) was used to measure the desired personality factors. The results indicated that antisocial personality characteristics do not inhibit moral judgment development. However, the results showed that individuals with antisocial personality characteristics were more likely to endorse self-serving decisions in situations that call for moral decision-making.


Personality and Social Contexts | Psychology | Social Psychology