Volume index - Journal index - Article index - Map ---- Back

Comunicar Journal 44: Moocs in Education (Vol. 22 - 2015)

The undesired effects of digital communication on moral response


Isidoro Arroyo-Almaraz

Raúl Gómez-Díaz


The current paper is based on the hypothesis that communication through the new digital technologies modifies the moral response of users, and therefore reduces social capital. This approach has been contrasted by designing and conducting an experiment (N=196) using our own adaptation of the Spanish version of the Defining Issues Test on subjects who have been socialized by Internet and who constitute the representative samples of this study. This test on paper was adapted to our research following an expert validation procedure and then transferred onto two types of digital audiovisual formats. Finally, The use of digital communication technologies and students’ fluid intelligence response were evaluated in order to establish whether their response was significant and if it modified moral response. The results confirm the hypothesis and show that the quality of moral response decreases when digital technologies are used instead of pencil and paper. This difference is greater when virtual images of people designed by animation are used rather than visual images of real people. In addition, the results show that fluid intelligence mitigates these modifications.


Digital communication, audiovisual communication, on-line morality, moral development, moral dilemmas, digital literacy, social capital, citizenship