Your Morals – Part 2 – My Results

by Dave on February 5, 2011

in General

I am not going to make anyone wait to see what I got, so here it is.

It is obvious from this that I am much closer to a Liberal than I am to a Conservative.  I will be getting into a bit of discussion around each of the attributes, but I would like to offer a couple observations.

Although liberals score higher on the Harm and Fairness attributes, it is the lack of score on the remaining three that most differentiate the liberal score from the conservative score.

The conservative markers that liberals score low in, seem to me to be group dimensions versus the Harm and Fairness dimensions.  That is, the conservatives seem to weigh the group more than the individual.  I will analyze this more in coming posts.

Request – Is there someone out there reading this that has taken the test and scored higher on the conservative markers that we can involve in this discussion.  I am afraid that this will be terribly one sided without a conservative viewpoint.

Lastly, here are the results showing how males and females performed.  As you can see, the test does not bias based on gender.

As you can see, males and females score virtually the same.

Until next time, have a great Super Bowl Weekend!



Susan N. February 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

Hi Dave,

I won’t be much help in bringing perspective from the more conservative side, but I thought I’d throw in my scores for comparison’s sake. Interesting, the possible variances in between the poles, don’t you think? SO much goes into shaping our individual beliefs and mores…

Here’s how I came out on the Moral Foundations questionnaire:
* Harm – 4.2
* Fairness – 3.3
* Loyalty – 1.5
* Authority – 2.3
* Purity – 2.3

What I interpret from these scores is that if my sense of harm/fairness is challenged, I won’t think twice about withdrawing my loyalty from an individual or group. The fact that my other two conservative categories are a bit higher than the average liberal speaks to the fact that I do value respect for authorities and strive to live within society by the “rules” (biblical and civil).

The fact that my harm is highest–above the liberal average, but my fairness is closer to the conservative average (eeks!) puzzles me. I would have to go back to the questions and my responses to try to figure that one out. Any ideas, offhand?

So, you asked me previously how this information can be applied to improve dialogue between individuals at different ends of this morality spectrum. I thought a little about this over the weekend. I haven’t had great success at it either, so, disclaimer: I have struggled and continue to struggle with this. The fact that my harm factor is so high, and my loyalty factor is so low, is the real hang-up for me, I think. If a person is, above all, convinced that loyalty to a group (church, political party, country) should be unquestionable, that defies all logic to my brain’s way of looking at things. Harm trumps loyalty, for me.

I see that you are higher on loyalty and lower on authority. Interesting. Knowing yourself best, how do you interpret that? Does that dynamic work well for you, or not? I’m trying to analyze my own results from that angle, for what these questionnaire results are worth… In your own case, do you feel that the results are pretty dead-on? The only one I’m wondering about in my own is the fairness category. How did I score high on harm, but low on fairness?! Probably indicates a quirk that generates a lot of inner conflict. How can you be high on one, and low on the other? LOL!

Dave February 7, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Susan N., Nice scores!

I am going to go into the details a bit more (both in thought and writing) but you do bring up a very good point. That is, the interaction of the factors seems to have some meaning.

I am definitely on board with you that my Harm factor creates the biggest problem between myself and conservatives. But here is a twist. Some of the people with whom I have issues insist that I am harming them, but I don’t see that I am. So not only is it Harm, but there is a definition of Harm different between us. Again, I wish I could get someone conservative to anonymously participate to help bridge the gap…I will work on that some more.

One of the other things in my background that I bring to bear in this conversation is another type of personality test called Personalysis. I have been through the intro program at least 3 times, through the detailed group dynamics class at least 5 times and have done ad hoc consultation and interpretation in it’s use. One of the things I like about Personalysis is that it recognizes that people behave differently depending on their mood, or more specifically, based on what they are trying to accomplish. I love to educate everyone on this too because mine varies depending on what is going on. If I feel threatened, I tend to take action, establish reliability and I don’t tend to involve people. I focus. But if I am on my best behavior, I tend to talk a lot and bring big ideas into the conversation. In glory, I bring ideas and people together in a big picture way to be innovative and achieve results. Sounds like what I am doing in these posts. Clearly I am not in my defensive mode where I am rounding the wagons and being protective.

So when I look at this method, I want to understand what it means at different times or in different moods. When things are going good I will be very loyal to people and feel that the bond there is important. But when things start going bad, or when the chips are high I start to look more at the harm vector. That’s how I see my scores on the loyalty vs. harm combo.

I hope to analyze my results some more in the next couple days and put up a post. I also have to figure out how to get a conservative that has no loyalty to me and I have no authority over or that may feel this is not pure exercise to come on here and give us another view……let’s see.

Dave February 7, 2011 at 5:48 pm

One last thing on my Personalysis, under stress or duress I tend to converge on solutions and push for them. When I am not under stress I tend to diverge and bring big ideas and concepts and people into play. That is not always easy for someone working with me to understand why Dave is nice and big picture thinking but then some days he just puts his head down and gets stuff done….

Dave February 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Oh, let’s get Robin from JC!!!

Susan N. February 8, 2011 at 8:37 am

Hi Dave,

From what I have been able to conclude in my own interactions with conservatives (religious and political), the loyalty/authority/purity paradigm results in a defensive posture that seeks to convert or avoid any perceived competing individuals, groups, or ideas. Based on the premise that their authority is God / the Bible, their loyalty to both authoritarian structures (God, the Bible, church, pastor, elders, husband; political party) and righteous causes (anti-abortion, anti-gay), and the belief that deviations from these in any way is tantamount to heresy, I can understand why arguments from the harm/fairness realm hit a brick wall. One of my local conservative (Reformed) acquaintances shared a quote of Calvin’s a while back that explained a lot: “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” The particulars of interpretation concerning God’s truth are not on the table for discussion. So, if in discussion, I raise a point that differs from a conservative friend’s POV, the reaction is fairly predictably defensive at best, and aimed, ultimately, at converting me/my ideas. If that fails, I’ve experienced “shunning.” There’s not a lot of interest in being closely associated with those who disagree with their objects of loyalty. And you know where I stand on loyalty: it’s my LOWEST priority!

Trying to share opposing viewpoints is kind of like beating a dead horse. It isn’t going to change their minds…they’re pretty set in stone already. You, on the other hand, are open to looking at matters through a lens of objectivity, weighing whether others are harmed or treated fairly. I tend to think that’s a blessing. God has plans for you, to use your gift of mercy and compassion to bless others. Those whose hearts are hard probably can’t receive it. In God’s good timing, we can hope for a softening though, right?

While I was immersed in conservative evangelical culture (both church and homeschooling community), I couldn’t sort all this out very clearly. Having gotten some time and distance between these groups and myself, I realize how much my speech and actions were becoming exactly like them. There was not a devious conspiracy on their part to control my mind (ha), but slowly I had begun to think and talk and act just like those with whom I spent most of my time. Naturally. The year-plus that we spent out of church altogether, was helpful. Since we worked up the courage last fall to try church again in a mainline denomination (UMC), every member of my family has felt a great weight lifted, and each time we are at church we feel a little more healed and renewed in spirit. The “yoke” is light and easy in the UMC where we attend. Every church is different, though, even in the same denomination. There is always a dynamic at play — pastor, people, Holy Spirit.

I think it’s admirable that you are trying very hard to understand yourself and be more aware of your part in interactions with difficult people and groups. I just want to encourage you not to beat yourself up for whatever you may perceive as a failure. At least, realistically-speaking, don’t get stuck there. Imagine if the Apostle Paul had gotten bogged down with his failure to reach various groups? He simply kept telling the good news and going on to the next thing/place.

The moral foundations questionnaires have been interesting for me to take and contemplate my results. Do you think my scores are nice? I’m not so sure I shouldn’t be worried about a couple of the correlations! That’s my neurotic side, I suppose ;-)


Dave February 8, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for your insights Susan, I appreciate it and am using them.

Yes, your scores are nice! No worries about correlations, just insights.

Blessings to you too,

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