Moral reasoning, intercultural development, and multicultural experiences: relations and cognitive underpinnings
The relation between moral reasoning and intercultural sensitivity is discussed. We
hypothesize that multicultural experiences are related to both types of development,describe
the cognitive processes through which multicultural experiences theoretically facilitate
development,and present empirical data supporting the association.Though the underlying developmental constructs were initially conceptualized as stage theories,we borrow from cognitive science and contemporary theories of human learning (Derry, 1996)to think of moral and intercultural development in terms of increasing sociocognitive flexibility.Intercultural and moral development share the common element of a critical shift from rigid to flexible thinking.In moral reasoning,this is characterized by the shift from conventional to post-conventional thinking.In intercultural development,a similar movement occurs between the ethnocentric and ethnorelative orientations of intercultural sensitivity.In order to test our hypothesis,college students(n ¼ 70)took measures of intercultural development(Intercultural Development Inventory),moral judgment (Defining Issues Test),and multicultural experience (Multicultural Experience Questionnaire)The results indicate that moral judgment and intercultural development are significantly related to one another. Both are related to multicultural experiences,particularly depth of the experiences,as opposed to breadth.