Moral norms and attitudes represent an ancient component of human culture, providing both constraints on human action and safety. Individuals often deliver rapid, automatic judgments for unfamiliar cases, suggesting that there is an implicit system of knowledge that may guide our intuitive judgments of right and wrong. This ability to rapidly and intuitively deliver moral judgments has been argued to be driven by a moral faculty, a mechanism that operates over a set of universal principles — a “universal moral grammar”. On this view, the principles are shared across cultures, with cultural variation created by differences in certain parametric settings. To explore the validity of the moral grammar thesis and to reveal culturally dependent component of moral judgment in Russian population we presented Russian subjects with moral dilemmas appealing to three principles of harm. We used the Russian version of The Moral Sense Test (MST) and analyzed responses of 303 subjects. In summary, the results showed that people make moral judgments intuitively appealing to some universal moral principles and it seems to be general for different cultures including Russian. We found that when solving moral dilemmas Russian subjects, as compared to English-speaking, tend to the middle of the scale and avoid extreme judgments. When making extreme judgments Russian subjects tended towards “forbidden” relative to English-speaking subjects who tilt towards “obligatory”.
Cross-cultural comparison of moral judgments: testing three principles of harm in Russian and American populations / K.R. Arutyunova, Y.I. Alexandrov, V.V. Znakov, M.D. Hauser // . – 2010. – P. 22-23