Date of Thesis



This research builds upon current findings pertaining to moral decision-making. Utilitarianism, related to more rational thinking that heavily considers the consequences of moral scenarios, has shown to be affected by several biological and neurological factors. The present research conducted two studies to determine whether digit ratios would mediate the relationship between circulating testosterone and punishment judgments. The first study sought to clarify the relationships between circulating testosterone and punishment judgments and digit ratios and punishment judgments. It was hypothesized that both testosterone and digit ratio would predict punishment judgments. The second study investigated whether digit ratio mediates the relationship between circulating testosterone and punishment judgments, specifically relating to the blame-blocking effect. It was hypothesized that individuals with low digit ratios would demonstrate a decrease in the blame-blocking effect while individuals with high digit ratios would demonstrate an increase in the blame-blocking effect. The hypotheses from the first and second studies were not fully supported. Additionally, the blame-blocking effect did not even occur in the first study, and in the second study there were mixed results concerning its presence. Limitations to this study, such as small sample size, are discussed.


blame-blocking, testosterone, cognition, development, morality, decision-making, moral judgment, punishment

Access Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

T. Joel Wade