Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2016

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



A person's moral character is often considered her most important and defining feature. Considering moral character is so highly valued, how can it best be assessed? The purpose of the present study was to examine the validity of self- and close other-reports of everyday moral behaviors by examining how well they correspond to each other and to a naturalistic measurement of everyday moral behaviors. To examine this, undergraduate participants (N = 216) provided self-reports of moral behaviors, and up to five peers (N = 982) provided confidential informant reports of those same behaviors. Undergraduate participants also wore a small audio-recorder over several days, and their audio files were later coded by trained research assistants for a set of everyday moral behaviors (e.g., expressing gratitude or sympathy). These codings provided an objective measure of the same moral behaviors reported on by participants and their peers. Results provide mixed support for the validity of self- and close other-reports. Although self-reports and peer-reports showed moderate levels of agreement with each other, neither report corresponded well with actual moral behaviors. That is, neither self-reports nor peer-reports were considered accurate when comparing them to real-world moral behaviors. Implications for morality and self- and other-knowledge are discussed, as well as ideas for future research.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Joshua J. Jackson, Simine Vazire

Committee Members

Michael J. Strube, Randy J. Larsen, Charlie Kurth


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/doi:10.7936/K7VH5M7N

Available for download on Saturday, August 15, 2116