Butler Journal of Undergraduate Research

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Tara Lineweaver


Since college is an important time in emotional and moral development, understanding factors that affect emotional intelligence and morality during these years (i.e., participation in Greek organizations) is critical. While past studies have investigated theory of mind and moral development in Greek and non-Greek college students, the research is limited. Thus, in this study, I explored theory of mind (ToM), moral development (MD), and moral reasoning (MR) in Greek members (n = 54) and their non-affiliated peers (n = 50) across their college years. Results indicated that Greek and non-Greek students differed in theory of mind and moral reasoning, but not in moral development. Greek men and women demonstrated equivalent theory of mind abilities across class years, whereas non-Greek students’ theory of mind abilities differed depending upon their gender and class year. Specifically, non-Greek men showed a pattern of decreased theory of mind across the college years, whereas non-Greek women’s theory of mind improved from sophomores to juniors to seniors. Additionally, non-Greek students tended to consider the feelings of others more than themselves when reaching moral decisions, whereas Greek students’ moral reasoning focused more on following rules and social norms. Taken together, these results suggest that involvement in Greek life during college may impact both emotional intelligence and moral reasoning without directly affecting the levels of moral development reached by students.