At the centre of this study is the theoretical and empirical analysis of action-formation mechanisms in norm-relevant, situations. Basically two mechanisms are employed, namely action according to a) moral principles and b) the principle of deterrence. Conflicting assumptions concerning the way these mechanisms work are deduced from two theoretical perspectives, the high-cost/low-cost. hypothesis and Situational Action Theory (SAT). While the high-cost/low-cost. hypothesis leads to the assumption that, criminal action is explained by the principle of deterrence in high-cost, situations and, in low-cost, situations, by moral principles, it. follows from SAT that., in high-cost, situations, the principle of deterrence has an effect, only on those persons with weak moral principles, and influences of moral principles are expected in low-cost, situations. Empirical analysis of these hypotheses is conducted with the help of data that, have been collected as part, of a mail survey (n=2383) of a disproportionately layered random sample of residents of an East. German city. Data analyses are carried out. in order to estimate the influences of the theoretically specified predictors simultaneously for high-cost, and low-cost, situations with multiple group comparisons. The study’s results partially support, both theoretical perspectives. They are finally discussed with respect, to theoretical and methodological aspects.