Full Project Title: Moral Decision Making and Behaviour

Principal Researcher:
Associate Professor Jane McGillivray

Student Researcher: Caitlin Robertson

You are invited to take part in a research project involving completing an anonymous online survey, which examines whether certain personality and other characteristics are related to the way individuals decide what is right and wrong and whether they engage in behaviours that have the potential to result in legal consequences. In particular, we are interested in whether certain traits that may be associated with autism spectrum disorder are related to differences in moral decision making and whether these differences may place some people at risk of offending. We anticipate that the findings of the study will inform programs to assist individuals who may be at risk of offending.

The survey will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. Initially, you will be asked some general questions about yourself, including your age and your educational history. These questions will help us to make sense of your responses.

The remainder of the survey will consist of three sections:

The first section will ask you to indicate the extent to which certain statements are true of you. Some examples of the statements that may be included are:

  • I prefer to do things with others rather than on my own.
  • I have been in a lot of shouting matches with other people.
  • I am not very good at remembering phone numbers.

The second section will ask about your participation in certain behaviours and any legal consequences of such behaviours. Some of the behaviours that you may be asked about include:

  • Causing trouble in a public place so that people complained about it
  • Damaging or destroying property that did not belong to you
  • Shooting at someone with a gun

The third section will ask you to indicate the extent to which certain considerations are relevant to your decisions about whether something is right or wrong. Some examples of the considerations that may be included are:

  • Whether or not someone suffered emotionally
  • Whether or not someone acted unfairly
  • Whether or not someone was cruel

Participation in any research project is voluntary. If you do not wish to take part you are not obliged to. Deciding not to participate or to take part and then withdraw, will not affect
your relationship to Deakin University or any agencies involved in advertising this project and will not impact on any services you currently receive or your future eligibility to receive services from any agency. Once you have read this information and if you agree to participate, please tick the “I Consent” box. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you may withdraw from the study at any time before the survey has been submitted by closing your browser window.

All your responses will be completely unidentifiable. Any information obtained in connection with this research project that can identify you will remain confidential and will only be used for the purpose of this research project. A report of the study may be submitted for publication, but in any publication of the results, information will be provided in such a way that you cannot be identified. Any data you supply will be stored on a secure password protected computer and locked cabinet at Deakin University for a minimum of six years from the date of research publication, after which it will be destroyed. If you would like to be informed of the general research findings, please contact Caitlin Robertson on

It is not expected that participation in this study will result in any feelings of psychological distress or discomfort. However, if completing these questionnaires raises any issues of concern please contact your General Practitioner or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

The ethical aspects of this research project have been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee of Deakin University. Researchers from Deakin University will monitor the project’s progress and will report to Deakin University Human Research Ethics Committee.

If you have any complaints about any aspect of the research, the way it is being conducted or any questions about your rights as a participant then you may contact Secretary HEAG- H, Dean's Office, Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences, 221 Burwood Hwy, Burwood, VIC 3125, Telephone: (03) 9251 7174, Email Please quote project number 2012-323.

If you require further information or if you have any problems concerning this project you can contact the researchers responsible for the project. This includes Caitlin Robertson at ( and Jane McGillivray at (; (03) 92446426).

If you wish to take part in this research please click the following button to indicate that you have read and understood the terms of the plain language statement and agree to participate. Pressing the Submit button at the conclusion of the questionnaire will indicate your consent. To maintain anonymity, please ensure that you do not attach your name or any other information that could identify you when you submit your completed questionnaire.