Mapping Morality with a Compass: Testing the theory of 'morality as cooperation' with a new questionnaire
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Description: What explains the content and structure of human morality? The theory of Morality-as-Cooperation (MAC) argues that morality is a collection of biological and cultural solutions to the problems of cooperation recurrent in human social life. Using evolutionary biology and nonzerosum game theory, MAC identifies an initial list of seven distinct types of cooperation (helping kin, helping group, reciprocating, hawkish signalling, dove-ish signalling, dividing disputed resources, and recognising prior possession), and predicts that each will be considered morally relevant, and each will give rise to a distinct moral domain. Here we test MAC’s predictions by developing a new self-report measure of moral values, the Morality-as-Cooperation Questionnaire (MAC-Q; Study 1: N=1,392) and comparing its psychometric properties to those of the Moral Foundations Questionnaire (MFQ; Study 2: N=1,042; Study 3: N=469; Study 4: N=137). The results support MAC’s seven-factor model of morality (encompassing family values, group loyalty, reciprocity, heroism, deference, fairness and property rights). The results do not support MFT’s five-factor model. Thus the MAC-Q emerges as the best available map of morality; and MAC emerges as the best available compass to guide further exploration of the moral landscape.