• I feel, therefore I am: generational differences in moral processing styles

      Rausch, Zachary M. (2021-05)
      Moral decision-making is a core feature of human life. We explored whether generational differences exist in the preference for two types of moral processing styles (the ways in which we integrate moral information and decide to take action): moral reasoning and moral intuition. We analyzed preferences for moral processing styles by using a modified version of the Rational-Experiental Inventory (REI) scale, which was broken down into the Faith in Moral Intuition and Need For Moral Cognition subscales. Preferences for moral intuition and moral reasoning were measured by averaging Faith in Moral Intuition scores and Need for Moral Cognition scores from 120 Generation Z (born after 1996) and 50 Generation X (born between 1965 - 1980) participants. A mediation analysis was also conducted to see if social media usage would explain the expected differences between generations. Gen Z participants scored lower than Gen X participants on Need For Moral Cognition, but no differences emerged on Faith in Moral Intuition. However, the mean difference between Faith in Moral Intuition and Need For Moral Cognition was much larger for Gen X than Gen Z. Social media usage did not mediate the relationship between generation and moral processing styles. It appears that there are generational preferences for moral processing styles, and that moral reasoning is less valued by this younger generation. The reason that these generational differences emerged must be examined in future research.