Psychology Coursework

The aim of this research is to investigate the existence of a correlation between age and behaviour, specifically, moral reasoning. The testable alternative hypothesis is that there will be a positive correlation between old age and moral reasoning when compared to a younger age range. It is expected that the older participants will show more moral reasoning when completing the experiment. Today’s society is very autonomous and traditional morals and values appear to have been cast aside and have not been passed on to the younger generation.

It is expected that this will have a direct effect on the results of the experiment. (Is this relevant? ) Piaget has researched the development of moral behaviour in children extensively, however, it was Kohlberg who identified more stages in the developmental process and continued research on into adulthood. In 1969 he investigated peoples moral reasoning by posing a moral dilemma to a sample of 84 participants then asked them questions related to the dilemma.

The target population are a group of young adults between the ages of 16 and 25 and a group of mature adults between the ages of 61 and 70, selected from a group of associates sharing a common interest. The independent group design will be used for this experiment as two groups will be used where the participants have been selected specifically based on their age using a systematic sampling method. All members of the association will be listed alphabetically into the two age groups required, and then every alternate member will be selected until there is a list of ten participants in each age group.

This method of sampling is justified, as it is the easiest option; it does not take into account the gender, occupation or religious background of the participants, it merely selects them based on their ages and their position alphabetically on a ‘register’. The independent variable of the experiment is the moral reasoning used to answer the questions. The dependent variable of the experiment is the ages of the participants showing the most moral reasoning. You have been systematically selected because of your age and position alphabetically on the ‘Society’ register to take part in a psychological experiment to measure moral reasoning.

Your anonymity will be kept at all times as you are not required to record your name, your exact age, however, is required and should be recorded clearly on the sheet. You have the right to withdraw from the experiment at any time without the fear of repercussions. You will be given a written dilemma which will be read aloud to you and then you will need to consider three questions and answer them as honestly as possible. You are not allowed to discuss the dilemma or the questions with any of the other participants. N. B There are no right or wrong answers it is merely your opinion that is required.

Your answers will then be recorded and analysed. Each participant will also be given a sheet detailing the moral dilemma and the three questions they must answer. They will also be provided with a pen. The dilemma and questions will also be given verbally. The participant will also indicate on the sheet, which age range they fall into. The answer sheets will then be collected and the data entered into a table to indicate how each participant answered the questions, along with their age. The results will be presented as a scattergram to indicate whether there is a negative, positive or no correlation between the variables.

The results will also be analysed by calculating the mean, median, mode and range, to identify what they highlight in relation to the aim of the experiment. The research will be evaluated and conclusions will be drawn from the study. Extraneous variables: People being unable to read well, not enough time to complete, may be tired, unwell, Independent Measures: Ensure everyone has same amount of time, the temperature, noise level and lighting in the room are the same. All participants need to feel safe secure and comfortable during the experiment. Ensure no one attempts to cheat by talking or reading another participant’s paper.

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