Master of Arts (MA)
Faculty of Arts
Past research has found strong evidence that individuals behave differently when they are online compared to when they are in face-to-face interactions. These differences may be caused by factors such as anonymity, remoteness from interactions and reduced empathy. The current study attempts to expand on these past research findings by examining moral development and specifically the relationships between moral emotions, moral identity and antisocial behaviour in the online context. In total, 392 participants were placed into three separate age groups: early adolescence (n = 99, aged 12.42-14.33), late adolescence (n = 180, aged 17.17-22) and early adulthood (n = 113, aged 22.06-35.25). Participants were assessed with a questionnaire measuring moral identity and moral emotions using hypothetical scenarios in both the online and the face-to-face context. It was established that both moral identity and moral emotions were lower in the online context regardless of age group. Cross-context differentiation also increased with age for the two variables. In addition, the relationship between moral identity and both intention to perform and performance of antisocial behaviours was mediated by moral emotions. The findings of the present study confirm more research is needed to investigate how the online context affects moral development.
Mitchinson, Sarah, "Moral Development in the Online Context" (2019). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2159.