Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

John O'Connor, Carl Martray, Richard Miller

Degree Program

Department of Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


A population sample consisting of 110 college students was placed into one of three principled reasoninig groups (low, medium, and high) based on individual P scores on the Defining Issues Test. Based on previous research, it was predicted that individuals low in principled reasoning would score high on measures of deference (conformity) and affiliation (social approval) and low on measures of autonomy, intraception (analytical ability), and abstractness. Those individuals in the high principled reasoning group would have opposite need structures. They should be low on measures of deference and affiliation and high on autonomy, intraception and abstractness in comparison to the low group. Those individuals with medium pricipled reasoning scores should be higher on measures of intraception and abstractness than the low principled reasoning group. Personality variable scores were obtained using the Edwards Personal Preference Scale and the Abstract Orientation Scale. None of the comparisons were significantly different on affiliation for any of the groups. In addition, none of the group comparisons between the low and medium groups were significantly different from one another. The results indicated the high group was significantly higher on deference and abstractness compared with the low group.

The high group was also signigi(:antly higher than the m.dium group on measures of ibtraception, autonomy and abstractness. The groups were also evaluated using the discriminant analysis procedure. The analysis combined the personality variables into two discriminant functions both of which contained significant discriminating power and were able to discriminate between the three principled reasoning groups. The first function contained 78% of the total discriminating power and was primarily composed of abstractness, deference, intraception and autonomy. The second function was composed of autonomy, deference and affiliation and contained the remaining U% of discriminating power. In addition, the derived functions were able to correctly classify the correct principled reasoning group of (40 of the subjects.


Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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