Perceptions of Social Responsibilities in India and in the United States: Moral Imperatives or Personal Decisions?

  • J. G. Miller University of Wollongong, Australia
  • D. M. Bersoff
  • R. L. Harwood

Abstract

Indian and American adults' and children's (N = 400) moral reasoning about hypothetical situations in which an agent failed to help someone experiencing either life-threatening, moderately serious, or minor need was compared. For 1 3 of Ss, the agent's relationship to the needy other was portrayed as that of parent; for another 1 3, as that of best friend; for the rest, as that of stranger. Indians tended to regard the failure to aid another in moral terms in all conditions. In contrast, Americans tended to view it in moral terms only in life-threatening cases or in cases of parents responding to the moderately serious needs of their children. The results imply that Indian culture forwards a broader and more stringent view of social responsibilities than does American culture. Discussion centers on theoretical implications of the various cultural, need, role, and developmental effects observed.

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Published
2020-09-23
How to Cite
Miller, J. G., Bersoff, D. M., & Harwood, R. L. (2020). Perceptions of Social Responsibilities in India and in the United States: Moral Imperatives or Personal Decisions?. The Social Studies: An International Journal, 6(1), 65-78. Retrieved from http://fssh-journal.org/index.php/scr/article/view/104