Ethics Moral Foundations Test


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I took the test but I found that the questions were very American. For example I didn't know that there could be such a thing as a Christian bakery. Overall I don't feel at all that the questions were about morality but rather kindness or agreeableness. Since they asked to vote based on what we consider moral, for almost all answers I chose the neutral grey button. A few answers got one red thumb down if it was really not nice. As a result the test classifies me as a conservative which is completely wrong.


  • Your scores:
  • Care 61%
  • Loyalty 44%
  • Fairness 58%
  • Authority 44%
  • Purity 56%
  • Liberty 47%
Your strongest moral foundation is Care.

Your morality is closest to that of a Conservative.
For me, I felt questions for example, if the father gave his son 10 dollars, and was told to distribute it as he wishes, and kept 9; I kept it neutral. Because despite the fact that he was being greedy, the father was the real issue, since he gave him the choice. I accounted for unknown variables in my choices, like perhaps his sister doesn't need it, or he may not have a good relationship with her for legitimate reasons.
For me, I felt questions for example, if the father gave his son 10 dollars, and was told to distribute it as he wishes, and kept 9; I kept it neutral. Because despite the fact that he was being greedy, the father was the real issue, since he gave him the choice. I accounted for unknown variables in my choices, like perhaps his sister doesn't need it, or he may not have a good relationship with her for legitimate reasons.

I completely agree with you. In this case it is the father's responsibility. They also fail to mention the kid's age. You can't expect a four year old to behave like a ten year old or an 18 year old.

I took the test on my smartphone and the choice of answers were with thumbs up and down. I've just checked it again on my PC instead of thumbs it is a scale ranging from 'Not OK' to 'OK'. That already changes a lot my perception of how I should answer. It is not clear whether it is a scale:
- from completely morally condemnable to morally praiseworthy (that's the one I understood at first, as it is a morality test)
- from most objectionable to least objectionable
- from unkind to kind (I doubt that's the purpose of the test)

I'll comment each question to illustrate what I mean.

John's soccer coach decides that everyone on the team must wear black soccer shoes, but on the day of the match, John turns up in white soccer shoes instead.

This could be a mistake on John's part (he forgot what the coach said or didn't hear), but it could also be intentional provocation. Or he could simply be that he didn't have black soccer shoes, didn't have time or money to buy an extra pair before the game. Without knowing the exact circumstances, we can't judge his behaviour. In any case it is not a moral question. It's just about following the coach's instructions. Therefore I gave a neutral answer (neither morally wrong nor praiseworthy). But if I had to choose between OK and not OK, then I would say that it is morally OK as it's not morally wrong. So I could just as well choose the maximum OK as it's not a moral issue.

EDIT: One could also wonder whether it is wrong of the coach to impose his tastes in shoes to the players (kids?), who are the paying customers. It doesn't say that this the the soccer federation's rules, but just the coach's personal decision.

Sarah's dog has four puppies. She can only find a home for two of them, so she kills the other two with a stone to the head.

That may be necessary as she may not want to have to care about too many dogs. But isn't there a more humane way to kill the puppies than with a stone? Shouldn't she be considered responsible for her dog's pregnancy for not putting her on the pill or avoiding contact with male dogs, if she didn't want puppies in the first place? So it's not as straightforward as it looks at first. I would say it's slightly wrong as she undeniably has "some" responsibility.

Tina promises her dying mother that she'll visit her grave once a month. After the mother has passed away, Tina finds it hard to squeeze in the time, and her visits drop to about once a year.

Personally I wouldn't care as I don't believe in life after death, heaven or even an immaterial and eternal soul. Once you are dead you are dead and it's useless to have graves and cemeteries or to visit them. Normally tombs are for the family and friends left behind, not for the deceased person. But it sounds so shallow that someone could only remember their loved ones when they visit their tomb. If you really cared about them, their memory will always be alive in your mind and going to the cemetery isn't going to make any difference.

In sex education class, the students are taught that since the sexes are equal, the girls should sleep with as many guys as they want without fear of being considered "sluts."

I would tend to agree. In any case the teacher said "sleep with as many guys as they want" and I am sure that many girls prefer stable long-term relationships than a long series of flings. So I am ok with that, but I am not going to say that it is morally praiseworthy to sleep with a lot of people (mainly because of the risk of spreading STDs).

A group of parents, concerned about their children's risk of obesity, demand that the local store stops selling XL sized candy bars and soft drinks.

Again, it's not a moral question. It's good that the parents worry about their children's health, but it is up to them to teach them not to consume too much sugar. For example I was told when I was little that soft drinks were bad for health and I never drank any (actually I tried coke once when I was 8 and almost vomited). It's not really the store's responsibility. In any case, if the kids want to eat a lot of candy bars and soft drinks and XL sizes aren't available they'll just buy two regular sizes instead, which may be worse.

Jane's boss calls all of his employees by their first names but does not allow any of them to call him by his first name. When Jane insists that it must be a two-way street, he fires her.

I tend to agree that it should be a two-way street, but it's not necessarily like that. For example during all my school years teachers had to be called by their surnames while pupils/students were addressed by their first names. It's also highly cultural. In France, Germany or Japan, most people at work use surnames, even if they have known each others for 40 years. There is no right or wrong here. And the boss has the right to decide. Nevertheless I find it abusive to fire someone for disagreeing about that. So once again I have to choose a neutral answer.

Adam and Beth have been dating for three years. Adam is reluctant to have children, so Beth tells him that she's on the pill when she isn't.

That may be one of the few questions that is really about morality. It is wrong to intentionally try to conceive a child with a partner who doesn't want one. But it depends how reluctant the father is and for which reasons. Does he only think that he is not ready emotionally (a common issue for men) or is it completely opposed to ever having children because of some deep trauma. Or is it because or work or of their financial situation? Is he being selfish or reasonable in his objections? Unfortunately there isn't enough information to give a fair judgement. Therefore I chose "slightly wrong".

When Lily tells her classmate Sue that it's her dream to be prom queen, Sue laughs out loud and says: “You're too ugly for that.”

It is definitely not kind, but it's not a moral issue. So neutral.

Hannah inherited an old flag of her country from her father, but has never used it. One day when Hannah is cleaning the house she discovers that she is out of rags, so she uses the flag as a rag to clean the house.

I really don't see the problem. A flag is just a piece of tissue.

An army lieutenant neglects to file a report on a civilian killing done by his troops because he knows it was an accident.

Slightly wrong.

A new action figure becomes all the rage among the boys in Timmy's class. When Timmy's parents get to the store, they buy all of the action figures for Timmy, leaving none for the other children.

In the age of online shopping I would say that it's not an issue at all. The toys will always be available to order online, probably at a better price than at the store. Irrelevant question.

The principal of a school says that none of her students are allowed to draw Muhammad on the school premises, or to bring Muhammad cartoons to school.

As an Atheist this issue doesn't qualify as a moral one for me. On the other hand the principal may just be worried for repercussions of the local Muslim community if students draw images of Muhammad. Journalists have been killed for this and if the school is located in a neighbourhood with a substantial Muslim population (especially if not well integrated) then the risk is real. So it may be a wise decision depending on the circumstances. Once again, not enough info.

Scott is hosting a dinner party. For dessert, he serves chocolate cake, shaped to look like dog poop.

That's a really stupid question. That has nothing to do with morality. I suppose it's just done as a joke. If some people feel disgusted they aren't obliged to eat the cake.

The head of a public department says that none of her employees are allowed to smoke at all, not even in their free time.

This one is more of a dilemma. On the one hand, considering how bad smoking is for health, it could be seen as morally praiseworthy to forbid employees to smoke even outside of work to preserve their health. On the other, people are free to do what they want with their body and health. I have to vote neutral because I can see both points of view.

Sarah gets drunk in a bar and makes out with two strangers at once.

So what? Perfectly fine.

Some men have a private, all-male club and feminists take them to court, demanding that they open it up to women.

If it's a private club the owners have complete discretion about who can join. If it was a medical doctor's club and only allowed MDs, nobody would try to force them to open to non MDs. That's a question I think nobody would have thought of outside of the USA.

In biology class, a human hand, preserved in a jar, is passed around among the students.

Perfectly fine.

Emma and Cindy are summer interns at Chris' office. Emma does slightly better than Cindy. At the end of the summer there's only one job opening, but Chris gives it to Cindy because he finds her more attractive.

That's human nature.

When Carl's soccer team is squaring off against the team of another nation, he sings along to the other team's national anthem instead of his own.

So what? I have listened to many of the world's anthems. My country's anthem is not among my favourites. It's just music. Anyway people can have several nationalities or like other countries than their own.

Tom and Linda have been dating for almost a year. Since they've never agreed to be exclusive, Tom sleeps with other women without telling Linda.

Also sounds like an American situation. In Europe normally when you are dating someone (especially for several months or years) it is implied that the relationship is exclusive. I only ever heard in American movies and series that people said they were "not exclusive" or "would become exclusive". I find it very strange to date two people at once without considering it cheating. But if it is normal in the US to declare to your partner whether you are exclusive or not, then this situation would be ok I guess. Elsewhere I would consider it wrong.

A man orders a custom-built sex doll designed to look just like his niece.

This one seems clearly wrong as it encourages incest (which can lead to genetic deformities, mental retardation, etc. in the potential offspring).

A pair of parents read about the exotic delicacies of Africa and the Far East. In the coming week, they serve dog meat to their children.

Dog meat has been traditionally eaten in all East Asian countries (Japan was the first to stop many centuries ago), so it cannot be morally wrong, however one feels about dogs. Nevertheless it would be wrong of the parents not to tell their kids that the meat they are about to eat is dog meat, or to force them to eat it. The question doesn't say whether it's the case or not.

Julie asks her friends not to fraternize with her ex-boyfriend Jake, since he cheated on her with other women. Three weeks later, Julie's friend Melissa is dating him.

It can seem like a breach of trust by Melissa. But on the other hand if she is ready to take the risk of being cheated on by Jake, that's her problem.

Jack and Will are classmates. Will's father is a lawyer. When he picks up Will from school, he refuses to say hi to Jack's father because he is only a janitor.

It sounds snobbish of Will's father, but that's not really a moral issue.

When Kelly asks Steven out on a date, he sneers and says: “Like I'm gonna date a woman who looks like my overweight bulldog.”

Very unkind, but not morally wrong.

Tim asks his father for permission to stay out late because his classmates are throwing a party. When his father refuses, Tim slams the door in his face.

How could they possibly make this a moral issue? He is just venting his anger. That's understandable.

When a homeless man asks Matt for spare change, Matt keeps on walking and says, “Don't talk to me, loser.”

It's not kind to say it, but it's also not a moral issue.

Amy and Mia are coworkers. One day, Amy offers Mia to take one of her shifts, “no strings attached.” Some time later, Amy could really use someone to fill in for her, but Mia doesn't feel compelled because Amy's original offer had “no strings attached.”

Mia isn't being kind to Amy, but she isn't in the wrong either.

A Christian bakery refuses to custom decorate a cake with chocolate letters that would carry a pro-gay message.

I don't know what is a Christian bakery (do they bake cake shaped like Jesus?), but I suppose it is their right to refuse customers. My question is why would the pro-gay customers visit this bakery in the first place?

A man sets up an unlicensed medical practice but makes all of his customers sign a contract acknowledging that he is not a licensed physician.

It's probably illegal in most developed countries. But illegal does not mean immoral. Actually if it was legal it would be praiseworthy to make sure to inform customers of the situation, so as not to deceive them.

Dan turns up the TV just as his father is talking about his military service.

How is that a moral issue? That's a communication problem between family members.
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I took the test again, this time answering the maximum OK when it's not a moral issue, instead of choosing a neutral answer. Obviously the overall score is very different, almost opposite of what I got before. Yet my opinion hasn't changed at all. It's just the way I understand the answer scale that changed.


  • Your scores:
  • Care 33%
  • Loyalty 17%
  • Fairness 28%
  • Authority 8%
  • Purity 31%
  • Liberty 69%
Your strongest moral foundation is Liberty.
Your morality is closest to that of a Libertarian.

  • Your scores:

  • Care 81%
  • Loyalty 67%
  • Fairness 64%
  • Authority 75%
  • Purity 67%
  • Liberty 81%

You have no one strongest moral foundation.
Your morality is closest to that of a Conservative.

Yes, pretty American questions.
In my opinion the questions could have been better.
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