Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Piercarlo Valdesolo

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Rights Information

© Annika Jessen 2014

Abstract

The present research examines moral judgments towards favoritism and discrimination as a function of personality characteristics in the context of job hiring situations through two studies. Participants were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk and the Claremont SONA systems. The first study analyzes the effect of implicit theories of personality and perceived intentions to harm on morality judgments in scenarios of favoritism and discrimination. Results indicate lower ratings of morality and higher perceived intentions to harm in the discrimination condition. Perceived intentions to harm mediated the relationship between condition and morality judgments. No significant effects were found with respect to implicit theories of personality.

The second study is a 2x3 factorial design, adding a manipulation of personality traits discriminated against or favored. A pilot study was used to select the three personality traits for each condition that varied by their perceived malleability. Results indicate overall lower moral judgments and higher perceived intentions to harm in the discrimination condition. Perceived intentions to harm mediated the relationship between condition and moral judgments. There was no significant relationship between implicit theories of personality and moral judgments, nor was there an effect of the personality trait manipulation. However, the manipulation failed to be function as desired, and thus strong conclusions are difficult to draw. Limitations and future research are discussed.

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