What Role does Prejudice Play in Moral Decision-Making?

Chloe G. Bland


In order to further examine the role contextual factors play in the moral decision-making process, such as socio-economic status (SES), a preliminary pilot study was conducted by the author (CGB). Twenty college students from New York City were asked to morally reason about a series of short vignettes, which were based on research by Miller & Bersoff (1995). The results of the pilot study showed some preliminary evidence that prejudice may impact the moral reasoning of the respondent. This suggests that people may respond to the same situation in different ways, depending on the SES of the individuals involved. I propose to expand on the aforementioned pilot study. In addition, I will use Allport's (1954) term of "nouns that cut slices" to help define prejudice. Allport uses the term to describe the labels we use to categorize and organize groups of people. My assumption for the purpose of this study will be that every person has prejudices that are implicit in their worldview. Although the word "prejudice" often carries a negative meaning, for my purposes it is merely a way of saying that each person sees and interacts with the world in a distinct way.

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