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, 14 (4), e0214747

Decision-making in Everyday Moral Conflict Situations: Development and Validation of a New Measure


Decision-making in Everyday Moral Conflict Situations: Development and Validation of a New Measure

Nina Singer et al. PLoS One.


In everyday life, we are often confronted with morally conflicting social interaction situations. Therefore, the main objective of the present set of studies was the development and validation of a new measure to assess decision-making in everyday moral conflict situations. All vignettes required a decision between an altruistic versus an egoistic behavioral response alternative. In three independent surveys (N = 200), we developed a 40-items measure with preferable mean rates of altruistic decisions (Study 1), clear representation of altruistic and egoistic response classes (Study 2), unambiguousness of social closeness classifications (socially close vs. socially distant protagonists; Studies 1 and 2), and high similarity to reality ratings (Studies 1 and 2). Additionally, we developed two parallelized item sets for future use in within-subjects design studies and investigated the measurement properties of our new scale (Studies 1 and 3). Results of Rasch model analyses and classical test theory fit indices showed unidimensionality and confirmed the appropriateness of the fragmentation into two parallelized item sets. Notably, in our data, there were neither effects of social closeness nor gender on the percentage of altruistic decisions. In sum, we propose the Everyday Moral Conflict Situations (EMCS) Scale as a promising new measurement tool that may facilitate further research in different research areas due to its broad applicability.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Graphical model check.
Graphical model check plotting the item values estimated for participants with EMCS scores less or equal than the median against the item values estimated for participants with EMCS scores above the median. The results indicated a proper fit for all 40 items.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Boxplot for the percentage of altruistic decisions for females (n = 75) versus males (n = 75).

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Grant support

This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the funding programme Open Access Publishing and by grant number DFG-KU 1401/10-1 assigned to BMK, MS, and SW. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.