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Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Moral Psychology


This research introduces an attempt to regard morality from a motivational perspective by conceptualizing the moral realm in terms of approach-avoidance motivation. The study used a situational priming measure and dispositional measures to investigate the impact of approach-avoidance motivation on moral judgments. A secondary objective was to explore the relationship between conceptions of morality and perceived personal preference. Despite the failure of the priming measure, dispositional activation predicted moral judgments of approach-oriented behaviors, which were, overall, viewed as more a matter of personal preference. Dispositonal inhibition predicted moral judgments of avoidance-oriented behaviors, which were, overall, judged more harshly and were associated with perceptions of personal preference. The findings concerning the differences between approach and avoidance moral motivations provide support for the role of self-regulation in an individual’s moral system.


First Advisor

Ronnie Janoff-Bulman

THE CONSCIENCE-final version.doc (188 kB)
Analysis of Conscience: Self-Regulatory Theory and the Relations among Evaluative Standards, Emotional Experiences, and Moral Conduct