European Portuguese adaptation and validation of dilemmas used to assess moral decision-making

Abstract Objective To adapt and validate a widely used set of moral dilemmas to European Portuguese, which can be applied to assess decision-making. Moreover, the classical formulation of the dilemmas was compared with a more focused moral probe. Finally, a shorter version of the moral scenarios was tested. Methods The Portuguese version of the set of moral dilemmas was tested in 53 individuals from several regions of Portugal. In a second study, an alternative way of questioning on moral dilemmas was tested in 41 participants. Finally, the shorter version of the moral dilemmas was tested in 137 individuals. Results Results evidenced no significant differences between English and Portuguese versions. Also, asking whether actions are “morally acceptable” elicited less utilitarian responses than the original question, although without reaching statistical significance. Finally, all tested versions of moral dilemmas exhibited the same pattern of responses, suggesting that the fundamental elements to the moral decision-making were preserved. Conclusions We found evidence of cross-cultural validity for moral dilemmas. However, the moral focus might affect utilitarian/deontological judgments.