Gender and Perspective Differences in Moral Judgement and Moral Orientation

Journal of Moral Education 23 (1):17-26 (1994)
Abstract Forty male and female adults responded to two forms of Kohlberg's test??one in the standard third?person form, and the other imagining themselves as the protagonists in Kohlberg's dilemmas. Females obtained slightly lower moral maturity scores than males across both forms, but there were no sex differences in moral orientation. There were no significant effects for the perspective from which Kohlberg's test was taken, on either moral maturity or moral orientation. Care?oriented moral judgements were more prevalent in dilemmas involving life vs. law conflicts than in dilemmas involving conscience vs. punishment conflicts. Subjects did not consistently make either care? or justice?oriented moral judgements. There was a significant negative correlation between the frequency of care?oriented judgements and moral maturity for males, but not for females. Although these results are partially consistent with the possibility that Kohlberg's test and scoring system are biased against females, they do not support the assumption that females make more care?oriented moral judgements than males on Kohlberg's test, or, indeed, that members of either sex display enough consistency in care?and justice?based moral judgements on Kohlberg's test for such judgements to serve as the basis of moral orientations
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