The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Moral Judgment: The Case of Middle Eastern Female Students from a Society in Transition


The present study examined the role played by emotional intelligence in the moral judgment of an understudied population of female college students whose society is undergoing drastic changes juxtaposing individualism, meritocracy, and gender equity to collectivism, tribalism, and patriarchy. Two hundred and fifty students completed the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire of Cooper and Petrides (2010), and the Cultural Orientation Scale of Triandis and Gelfland (1998) and then read a story involving a moral dilemma that was emotionally relevant to them (i.e., cheating on a test). One version of the dilemma described a resolution that was ethical but violated collectivistic norms of loyalty towards one’s group, whereas another version described a resolution that was unethical but consistent with such collectivistic norms. Then students were asked to judge the conduct of the characters in the dilemma they read. Correlation analyses indicated that students’ emotional intelligence scores, irrespective of their cultural orientation, predicted moral reasoning in the ethical-ending story, but not in the unethical-ending story. These findings suggest that students prioritized ethical conduct over collectivistic norms of group loyalty at a time when these norms in their society are overshadowed by individualistic themes of western import.

Author Information
Maura Pilotti, Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia
Amani Gaddourah, Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd University, Saudi Arabia

Paper Information
Conference: IICE2023
Stream: Higher education

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon