ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2013, Vol. 21 ›› Issue (12): 2235-2244.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2013.02235

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The Psychological Research Paradigms of Moral Personality

YU Feng;PENG Kaiping;DONG Rui;CHAI Fangyuan;HAN Tingting   

  1. (1 Department of psychology, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China) (2 Department of psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA94720, USA) (3 School of psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, 100875, China)
  • Received:2013-05-17 Online:2013-12-15 Published:2013-12-15
  • Contact: PENG Kaiping


Regardless of moral personality development, moral personality and virtue research can be categorized by two dimensions. The first dimension is structure–process, which respectively represent the “what” and the “how” of personality, or personality’s “having” and “doing”. The second dimension is actor–observer, which respectively represent the nature of personality and the folk belief about personality. There are four paradigms according to the interaction of these two dimensions. The first paradigm is moral prototype approach, which seeks to identify the structure of moral personality based on folk belief. The second paradigm is moral exemplar approach, which aim to explore the dynamics of moral personality from moral figures. The third paradigm is moral information processing approach, which seeks to explore the cognitive processes underlying real moral or unmoral people. The fourth paradigm is folk virtue concept approach, which seeks to identify the thinking processes underlying virtuous person based on folk beliefs. Four paradigms aims to explore different aspects of moral personality.

Key words: moral personality, virtue, moral exemplar, prototype, moral traits, information processing, folk psychology