DIT Instruments, Services, and Materials
A common assumption in the field of morality, and one with which we disagree, is that reliable information about the inner processes that underlie moral behavior is obtained only by interviewing subjects. Contrary to assuming that interviewing presents a clear window into the moral mind, researchers in cognitive science and social cognition contend that self-reported explanations of one's own cognitive process have severe limitations. There is now a greater appreciation for the importance of implicit processes and tacit knowledge on human decision making, outside the awareness of the cognizer and beyond the subject's ability to verbally articulate them. The DIT takes a different approach to information collection.
The DIT is a device for activating moral schemas (to the extent that a person has developed them) and for assessing them in terms of importance judgments. The DIT has dilemmas and standard items; the subject's task is to rate and rank the items in terms of their moral importance. As the subject encounters an item that both makes sense and also taps into the subject's preferred schema, that item is rated and ranked as highly important. Alternatively, when the subject encounters an item that either doesn't make sense or seems simplistic and unconvincing, the item receives a low rating and is passed over for the next item. The items of the DIT balance "bottom up" processing (stating just enough of a line of argument to activate a schema) with "top down" processing (not a full line of argument so that the subject has to "fill in" the meaning from schema already in the subject's head). In the DIT we are interested in knowing which schemas the subject brings to the task (are already in the subject's head). Presumably those are the schemas that structure and guide the subject's thinking in decision-making beyond the test situation.
Validity for the DIT has been assessed in terms of seven criteria cite over 400 published articles (Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau& Thoma,1999):
(1) Differentiation of various age/education groups --studies of large composite samples (thousands of subjects) show that 30% to 50% of the variance of DIT scores is attributable to level of education in samples ranging from junior-high education to Ph.D.s.
(2) Longitudinal gains--a 10-year longitudinal study show significant gains of men and women, of college-attenders and non-college subjects, from diverse walks of life. A review of a dozen studies of Freshman to Senior college students (n=755) shows Effect Sizes of .80 ("large" gains). DIT gains are one of the most dramatic longitudinal gains in college of any variable.
(3) DIT scores are significantly related to cognitive capacity measures of Moral Comprehension (r = .60s), to recall and reconstruction of Postconventional moral arguments, to Kohlberg's measure, and (to a lesser degree) to other cognitive developmental measures.
(4) DIT scores are sensitive to moral education interventions--one review of over 50 intervention studies reports an Effect Size for dilemma discussion interventions to be .40 ("moderate" gains) while the Effect Size for comparison groups was only .09 ("small" gains).
(5) DIT scores are significantly linked to many "prosocial" behaviors and to desired professional decision making--one review reports that 37 out of 47 measures were statistically significant (see also Rest & Narvaez, 1994, for recent discussions of professional decision-making).
(6) DIT scores are significantly linked to political attitudes and political choices--in a review of several dozen correlates with political attitude, DIT scores typically correlate in the range, r = .40 to .65. When combined in multiple regression with measures of cultural ideology, the combination predicts up to 2/3s of the variance of controversial public policy issues (such as abortion, religion in the public school, women's roles, rights of the accused, rights of homosexuals, free speech issues). Such issues are among the most hotly debated issues of our time, and DIT scores are a major predictor to views on these issues.
(7) Reliability--Cronbach alpha is in the upper .70s / low .80s. Test-retest is about the same.
Further, DIT scores show discriminant validity from verbal ability/general intelligence and from Conservative/Liberal Political attitudes--that is, the information in a DIT score predicts to the seven validity criteria above and beyond that accounted for by verbal ability/general intelligence or political attitude (Thoma, Narvaez, Rest & Derryberry, this issue). Moreover, the DIT is equally valid for males and females (Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau& Thoma,1999).
DIT Dilemmas. The complete DIT-1 consists of six dilemmas. The six dilemmas of DIT-1 are as follows: (a) Should Heinz steal a drug from an inventor in town to save his wife who is dying and needs the drug? (b) Should a man who escaped from prison but has since been leading an exemplary life be reported to authorities? (c) Should a student newspaper be stopped by a Principal of a high school when the newspaper stirs controversy in the community? (d) Should a doctor give an overdose of pain-killer to a suffering patient? (e) Should a minority member be hired for a job when the community is biased? (f) Should students take over an administration building in protest of the Vietnam war? The short form of DIT-1 is simply the first three stories.
The complete DIT-2 consists of five dilemmas (each followed by 12 issue-statements); The five dilemmas of DIT-2 are: (a) a father contemplates stealing food for his starving family from the warehouse of a rich man hoarding food; (b) a newspaper reporter must decide whether to report a damaging story about a political candidate; (c) a school board chair must decide whether to hold a contentious and dangerous open meeting; (d) a doctor must decide whether to give an overdose of pain-killer to a suffering but frail patient; (e) college students demonstrate against U.S. foreign policy.
The Center's Scoring Service supplies Instruction Booklets, Answer Sheets, and Guides for DIT-2 or DIT-1. Answer sheets are then sent back to us for scoring. In turn, we supply a paper copy REPORT, and a floppy disk with subject scores. DIT-2, DIT-1 Complete Form, and DIT-1 Short Form are all the same price.
Free Rescoring Old Data by the Center
If you wish to have N2 scores for "old" data (i.e. data already scored by the Center analyzed with the P score and the other usual scores), the Center will rescore your data for N2 free of charge if you used the Scoring Service previously.
Return the diskette(s) along with a self-addressed label or envelope (at least 9 by 12¡¨), and we will re-run your previous data, providing a hard copy on paper and the new files on the diskette. Send in as many diskettes as you want analyzed and the new files will be put on each diskette.
We can provide this scoring service free only if raw data is provided in the format that our computers recognize. It would be helpful to us if you also describe the sample that the data is from (in terms of age/education, sex, region of country, and approximate date of data collection). We would be very interested in hearing about your experience with the new index: whether or not it produced better trends than the previous index.