May 11, 2005

That morality test.

Stephen Bainbridge points out this test of moral intuitions (via Tyler Cowen). Here's my score:
Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.47.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Your Universalising Factor is: 0.60.
That puts me in the "personal morality" quadrant of the diagram.


Mark Daniels said...

I'd like to see how others scored. My scores were:

Moralising Quotient is: 0.20.

Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Universalising Factor is: 1.00.

As I interpret this, it means that I don't believe in moralizing or interfering in people's personal morals, but I do believe in foundational truth. I can live with that characterization.

DaveG said...

Mine were:

Moralising Quotient is: 0.07

Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Universalising Factor is: 0.00.

I'm not sure what this means other than I don't like cats, even though they reportedly taste like chicken.

SteveR said...

Moralising Quotient is: 0.47

Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Universalising Factor is: 0.60

Real close to Ann's which does not surprise me from reading her thoughts this last year.

Freeman Hunt said...

Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.27.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Your Universalising Factor is: 1.00.

This was a fun quiz. I guess my results are about the same as Mark's.

Allah said...

I'm in the personal morality quadrant, too.

Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.60.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.40.

Your Universalising Factor is: 0.75.

Timothy K. Morris said...


I'm in the personal morality quadrant, too.

Your Moralizing Quotient is: 0.57.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.20.

Your Universalizing Factor is: 1.00.

Probably why I'm a prosecutor. I simply refuse to believe that someone isn't being harmed by some of these actions, despite what the site says about specifying no harm to anyone in the strongest possible terms. I mean, the chicken, really. On the other hand, the cat - I like cats, but protein is protein.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

My scores:

Moralising: 0.13

Interference: 0.00

Universalising: 0.00

And I was worried I'd turn out to be more moralistic than Ann! (But stealing shopping carts doesn't faxxe me...)

I agree with Hogarth about those cats.

Kathleen B. said...

my moralising Quotient: 0.33
interference factor: 0.00
universalising factor: 0.67

personal morality quadrant

I wish I had more time to ponder these questions. The main issue I see is that you don't know before hand that there won't be any harm. That is why I said the incest was wrong, even though they weren't harmed.

Ann Althouse said...

Richard: You are moralistic, as far as I remember, but about all kinds of weird, unpredictable things. This test was mostly about sexual matters and things that are disgusting to a person of conventional sensibilities (like eating the family pet or defiling the flag).

mcg said...

Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.37.
Your Interference Factor is: 0.20.
Your Universalising Factor is: 0.67

mcg said...

There really isn't much granularity in the test. I have a feeling, for example, that I disagree with those who received a Universalising Factor of 1.00 only one issue.

Ann Althouse said...

Kathleen: Yes, there were a lot of places where the question of harm was more a test of your imagination than anything else. I kept thinking of people harming themselves even though they were doing something they chose. The test didn't specify harm to others.

Ann Althouse said...

Mcg: Also, I think a lot of people go into the test with a self-image they want to maintain, especially about universalism. And then there's Richard, worried about being moralistic. Well, if you were worried about being moralistic, you probably opted for the less moralistic answer a few times when it was a close question.

chuck_b said...

Stephen Bainbridge--bleh. Your pal Nina Camic blogged this last year.

Ann Althouse said...

Leland: Maybe I took the test back then and have forgotten. But I think I would have remembered the chicken.

chuck_b said...

My results were different last year; I've apparently turned more permissive. I'm fairly certain I answered the smoking question differently last time, and said that acts that caused private harm could in some cases be morally wrong. I couldn't necessarily think of how, but my intuition told me so.

HaloJonesFan said...

As with most of these "moral tests", you're limited to the interpretations that the tester chooses. Many of my selections were for reasons other than the "explanations" given at the end of the test. And there is a clear attempt to steer people towards a "right answer" (the repeated statements of 'no harm done to anyone else', 'no harm done to anyone at all', 'God says this is wrong for no reason at all')

Ron said...

Your Moralizing Quotient is: 0.17.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.40.

Your Universalizing Factor is: 0.00.

Ron said...

...and remember

Kinky is with a feather.

Disgusting is with the whole chicken.

HaloJonesFan said...

leland burrill: That's another problem with this test, that it insists the questions be considered free of context and "real world situations". Following that dictum, how can anything that doesn't cause direct and immediate harm to another person be "morally wrong"? Of course it wouldn't, but how can I define an action as unable to harm another person in any way?

HaloJonesFan said...

A final complaint: The test, as I recall, never asked what I would do, only what I thought about what someone else was doing. If my personal moral code is "mind your own business", then I might wind up seeming much more permissive then actually would be the case.

Really, this test might well have been replaced by a single question: "Think of the nastiest, most disgusting thing you can imagine someone doing, without causing harm to another person. If you saw someone doing this, would you stop them?"

chuck_b said...

PS--this discussion reminds me about the Althouse post re: cellphones on airplanes. I was shocked that she was okay w/ the idea. I distinctly thought, "We would not get along." I even remember wondering if she really felt that way or was just trying to be provocative. Teachers do that sometimes. Anyhoo, I thought about "projection" (or whatever the correct term from psychology might be) and it was illuminating. But the real point is, that I wonder about Althouse's permisiveness wrt/ acts that may or may not cause private harm: does being so permissive facilitate making it a little easier to tolerate actions that cause others harm? Because I think I suffer "harm" from a seat neighbor jabbering on his/her cellphone. But maybe I'm just intolerant, or self-absorbed.

chuck_b said...

PPS--and what does it mean about my own "willingness" to tolerate non-private harm (Because I scored the same as Althouse this time around). Me, me, me. I said I was self-absorbed.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Ann, your memory is probably right, but I may have become less so over the years. Also moralism was often kind of an act with me. BTW, in my comment I meant "faze," not "faxxe."

Barry Kearns said...

Moralising Quotient is: 0.30.

Interference Factor is: 0.00.

Universalising Factor is: 1.00.

Meh. Deliver me from idiots who think they know what I mean. The analysis for my score was a steaming pile of condescension and cluelessness.

The majority of this derives, IMO, from fundamentally flawed construction for many of the questions. They treat the concepts of "harm" and "morally wrong" as if they are identities, when I consider them much more context-sensitive.

Take question 4: "Can an individual action be morally wrong if it is entirely private and no-one, not even the person doing the act, is harmed by it at all?"

Answering "yes" to this, and later judging situations as harmful to others even if they believe they are not harming themselves, leads to the snarky bolded analysis line:

Are you thinking straight about morality?

Yes, I am. Do your questions actually mean what you think they mean, for everyone who answers them? I think not.

I don't think there's a one-to-one correspondence between "harm" and whether I personally consider something "morally wrong"... and an even greater gap between that and trying to stop someone else from doing anything that I judge "morally wrong", and nothing at all to do with what a person's society thinks.

In short, my scores mean a few things to me, which don't correspond much with the purported analysis.

1. My opinions are my own regarding what I think is "morally wrong". Those opinions are not a function of that person's society, they are a function of my own judgement.
2. Simply judging the behavior of someone else as "morally wrong" doesn't give me or anyone else license to interfere.
3. The existence of "harm" (as I personally judge it) being present in a scenario is generally a sufficient condition for my finding it "morally wrong", but not a necessary condition.

Apparently, that leads these yahoos to guess that there is something "puzzling about your responses", and that I am apparently not "thinking straight about morality".

Not everyone fits into your pretty boxes, Philsopher's Mag, and not fitting well doesn't necessarily indicate a flaw in the person's thinking... it might indicate a horribly flawed measuring tool and grossly naive assumptions about what the results mean.

Dirty Harry said...


Not to get off-topic, but The Huffington Post --day 3-- is getting worse. Less than zero is possible.

No one has nailed blogging like you. How would you feel if I were to recommend they contact you for a lesson or ten? Would you charge? Just let me know the specifics and I'll broker the deal. And even waive my usual ten percent.

I'm no Huffington fan, but I'd pull her from a burning building and this is close enough.

Barry Kearns said...

Bah... meant to say answering "no" to question 4.

Steven A. Stehling said...

Your Moralising Quotient is: 0.60.

Your Interference Factor is: 0.60.

Your Universalising Factor is: 1.00.

I find this outcome puzzling. I don’t think it’s wrong for people to eat dead animals, even if they are domestic pets. I didn’t think the “deathbed” promise was wrong either. I mean come on, you have to say you’ll visit, she’s dying. Doesn’t mean you’re really going to do it, life goes on. The flag and sex questions really pushed my score up though. I think a more comprehensive test would be appropriate. This was a little too generalized.

L. Ron Halfelven said...

I got the same screed as Barry Kearns, evidently because I said I would be bothered by the creepy behavior in the examples even though I'd agreed that harm is a necessary condition for something to be morally wrong. The quiz seems to take "be bothered by" to mean "morally condemn"-- a bit of a departure from common usage, IMO. The stuff about how suspect it is to base morality on the "yuck factor" was OK as far as it went, but it shouldn't be attached to a quiz that has no way of distinguishing between people who are basing morality on the yuck factor and people who are merely saying "yuck".

Ann Althouse said...

Dirty Harry: You're right about the Huffington Post. They didn't really know how to get it going, did they?

Vizzini said...

0 / 0 / -1

- I live in Kansas but I'm a liberal
- I believe in evolution! I don't believe, however, that this precludes the presence of God
- I do believe in moral absolutes, just not any of the ones this test checks for
- Maybe the most telling point - I'm a professional programmer, and most of my programmer co-workers seem to agree with me on this sort of thing. I wonder if it comes with being overly analytical. :-)

Kathleen B. said...

I thought that, rather than conflating morality and harm, that was the whole point - to what extent is morality tied to harm, and can something be immoral if it doesn't harm anyone.

Ron said...

You and RLC remind me of Maurice Chevalier's song "I remember it well" from Gigi...

...and do I feel old all of a sudden!

Gerry said...

"But I think I would have remembered the chicken."

The chicken's ego certainly hopes so, at a minimum.

I didn't write mine down, but two of them were easy. Interference- 0, Universalising, 1. The other was about .6 or so.

I hated their article that tried to explain that my answers showed I was confused about morality. Why? Because I don't rely on harm as the centerpiece of morality. Big news there-- that is because I don't believe it should be. If it was, there would be no need for the word, morality. We could simply use the words unharmful or healthy.

Meade said...

Moralising Quotient: 0.1

Interference Factor: 0.00

Universalising Factor: 0.00

According to this test and IF it were the only consideration, you might as well have married me.

And IF a seemingly insignificant scant 0.03 amount of moralizing was the tipping point in causing your marriage to break up (not that that is in the least bit any of my beeswax), I think I can safely say that you and I would be husband and wife still. Perhaps even blissfully husband and wife still.

Admittedly, those are some big IF's.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Lmeade: Yep, you've hit the nail on the head: those 0.03 points were the reason.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am almost identical to Richard, but with moralizing down to .13. Otherwise, a perfect zip, zip.

I knew I had an extreme personality, but still...

How can anyone get upset at people eating fluffy, when fido isn't safe in many parts of the world?

Bruce Hayden said...

Let me add that it is weird scoring almost identically to someone who not only gets, but appreciates that Henny Youngman joke.