The role of reported emotion in real-life and hypothetical moral dilemmas

Eva E A Skoe, Nancy Eisenberg, Amanda Cumberland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


To form a more complete picture of the complexity that underlies human morality, the connection between emotion and moral thought in 209 men and women was examined. Participants rated the importance of one real-life and three hypothetical moral dilemmas and their feelings while making decisions about the dilemmas. The responses on these dilemmas also were scored for their care and justice orientations. Results showed that feeling upset and sympathy were uniquely positively related to dilemma importance. In the real-life situations, sympathy and anger uniquely predicted both care (positively) and justice (negatively) orientations. Relational real-life dilemmas evoked more emotions than did nonrelational ones. In general, women scored higher than men on emotions when considering moral dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)962-973
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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