07-29_Miller+_+Bersoff+_1992_+Culture+and+moral+judgment%2C+How+are+conflicts+between+justice+and+in

07-29_Miller+_+Bersoff+_1992_+Culture+and+moral+judgment%2C+How+are+conflicts+between+justice+and+in

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ATTITUDES AND SOCIAL COGNITION Culture and Moral Judgment: How Are Conflicts Between Justice and Interpersonal Responsibilities Resolved? Joan G. Miller and David M. Bersoff Yale University A 2-session study examined Indian and American adults' and children's (N = 140) reasoning about moral dilemmas involving conflicts between interpersonal and justice expectations. Most Indians gave priority to the interpersonal expectations, whereas most Americans gave priority to the justice expectations. Indians tended to categorize their conflict resolutions in moral terms. In contrast, when Americans gave priority to the interpersonal alternatives, they tended to categorize their resolutions in personal terms. Results imply that Indians possess a postconventional moral code in which interpersonal responsibilities are seen in as fully principled terms as justice obligations and may be accorded precedence over justice obligations. Findings also suggest that a personal moral- ity of interpersonal responsiveness and caring is linked to highly rights-oriented cultural views, such as those emphasized in the United States. Psychological theorists have tended to assume that a dichot- omy exists between the moral status of justice 1 and of benefi- cence and role-related interpersonal responsibilities (i.e., obli- gations to be responsive to another's wants or needs that arise, in part, from in-group identity). Contrasting frameworks have been adopted to provide a philosophical grounding for this and related claims. Kohlberg and others have drawn on philosophi- cal arguments within the Kantian tradition to posit that benefi- cence obligations lack certain formal properties characterizing justice obligations and therefore should logically be subordi- nate to justice obligations in situations in which the two types of expectations conflict (e.g., Kohlberg, 1981; Kohlberg, Le- vine, & Hewer, 1983; Nunner-Winkler, 1984). In contrast, Gilli- gan and her colleagues have drawn on other conceptual frame- works to provide a philosophical grounding for their claims that interpersonal responsibilities represent an alternative type of morality, distinct from the morality of justice, although not necessarily subordinate to it (e.g. Lyons, 1983; Gilligan, 1977, 1982; Gilligan& Wiggins, 1988). In comparing the priority that Americans and Indians give to justice and interpersonal obliga- tions, the present study provides a cross-cultural empirical ex- amination of these assertions. Philosophical arguments focused on the differential charac- This research was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH42940 to Joan G. Miller. We thank E. Annamalai and B. B. Rajapourohit of the Central Insti- tute of Indian Languages and R. Indira of the University of Mysore for their support of the project. Appreciation is also expressed to Jonathan Baron and the reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of this article and to Susan Goldman for her statistical advice.
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