Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Michael Bixter

Committee Member

Jennifer Pardo

Committee Member

John Paul Wilson


The main aim of the current thesis was to investigate the role of adult age in the moral stereotyping of moral foundations. The five core moral foundations of Moral Foundations Theory were measured through an online self-report survey, including the individualizing foundations of harm and fairness and the binding foundations of in-group loyalty, authority, and purity. Participants (n = 597; age range 19 to 85) were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions: the self-evaluation condition where participants completed the moral questionnaire as themselves, a condition where participants provided ratings as they believed a typical younger adult would answer them (approximately 25 years old), and a condition where participants provided ratings as they believed a typical older adult would answer them (approximately 65 years old). Results found significant moral stereotyping, with participants imagining older adults providing significantly lower ratings on the individualizing moral foundations than younger adults but higher ratings on the binding moral foundations. Based on participants in the self-evaluation condition, participant age was found to positively and significantly relate to ratings on the individualizing foundations but not significantly with ratings on the binding foundations. These results suggest that adult age group is a salient factor with regard to generalizations and stereotypes of moral foundations, which may hold relevance to either real or perceived “generational divides” on various sociocultural issues.

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Psychology Commons