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Psychology of Human Growth and Development
Psychosocial development
cognitive development part 2
Psychosocial development
Development of emotions
Language development
Cognitive development part 1
Perceptual development part 2
Development of attachment
Nature versus nature
Introduction to developmental theories
Prenatal development and chromosomal abnormalities
Prenatal development and teratogens
Brain development
Motor development
Physical growth
Perceptual development

moral  development


v      Morality


         Universality of moral reasoning

         Basic components of morality

         Cognitive component

         Behavioral component

         Emotional component


         Psychological research is interested in

         The relationships among these three factors

         Their role in the process of internalization of morality


         Development of moral reasoning

         Internalization: fundamental and essential process in the development of morality.


         Jean Piaget’s cognitive theory of  moral development

o        believed that moral development was an aspect of cognitive development.

o        Theory involves many of his principles and processes of cognitive growth:


o        Stages of moral development


         Premoral stage (birth to 5 yrs)

         Little concern for rules

         Little awareness of rules


         Stage of moral realism (6 to 10 yrs)

         concern and respect for rules

         see rules as coming from an authority figure

         egocentrism of child

         immature thought of child:

         moral absolutism:

         Immanent justice:


         Moral reciprocity / autonomous morality (11 onwards) Immanent justice

         Understands that social rules are arbitrary agreements that can be questioned and changed.

         Realize that obedience to authority is neither always necessary nor desirable.

         Violations of rules are not always wrong.

         Violations of rules not inevitably punished

         Believe that punishment

-                         should be related to the wrongdoers intentions and the nature of their transgressions.

-                         make up for the harm done

-                         help the wrongdoer to behave better in the future.

-                         Equal justice for all


         Critique of Piaget’s theory of moral development

o        Positive

o        Cognitive maturity has been found to be related to moral maturity.

o        people progress from one level of moral judgment to another in a fixed and invariant sequences

o        Developmental progression from moral realism to moral reciprocity has been supported.

o        regular age trends in the development of moral judgment regardless of class or gender.

o        negative

o        Cross-cultural studies are less consistent.

o        underestimated the cognitive capacities of young children


         Kohlberg and moral development


o        Based on the theory of moral development of Piaget

o        Emphasizes reasoning and moral standards.


o        Six developmental stages of moral judgment


         Stages involve:

         structured reasoning

         invariant in sequence


         universal throughout the human species

         Progress thought the stages is the result of the interaction between the maturation of individuals and their experiences.

         Progress through each stage will vary in speed.

         Some individuals will not reach the later stages

         Each stage is concerned with what ought to be rather than with actual behavior.

         Predicts no specific level of response at any specific age


o        Level 1: Preconventional moral reasoning

          Characteristic of children under 10

         don’t understand society’s rules and expectations

         considerations of intent and advantage are the most important


         Stage 1: Obedience

         lack internal standards of right and wrong.

         Morality is defined by its physical consequences.

         motives are only to satisfy their needs without getting into trouble.

         Defers to prestigious or powerful people to avoid punishment (parents)

         Under age 10 this type of morality is dominant.

         Some people never progress beyond this level


         Stage 2: Considering intentions

         Nave hedonistic and instrumental orientation

         Conforms to gain rewards

         Understands reciprocity and sharing


o        Level II Conventional moral reasoning : conventional rules and conformity


          Majority of adults and adolescents

         preoccupied with maintaining the expectations of the social group

         obeying the law because it is the law of the social consensus.


         Stage 3: Conformist

         “Good boy-nice girl morality”

         Good behavior is designed to maintain approval and good relations with others

         Conforms to maintain goodwill

         they have internalized the standards of their community

         motivated to live according to the std’s of the group

         starting to judge the good or bad or behavior in terms of intent.


         Stage 4: Social accord

         Authority and morality that maintain the social order.

         Conforms not just to other individuals’ standards of morality but the social order.

         Blindly accepts social conventions if he / she believes that the society accepts these rules.

         “law and order morality” unquestioning acceptance of social regulations.

         Behavior is judged to be good if it conforms to a rigid set of rules

         Many people never go beyond this conventional level of morality


o        Level III Postconventional moral reasoning: self-accepted moral principles


         Truly autonomous moral reasoning based on universal moral principles


          Stage 5: Social contract

         flexibility of moral belies

         morality is based on an agreement among individuals to conform to norms that appear necessary to maintain the social order and the rights of others.

         Can be modified when people within a society rationally discuss alternatives that might be more advantageous to more members of the society.

         Live according to self-derived principles rather than the conventions.

         Explicit awareness that there may be conflict between moral principles

         Utilitarian position: uphold  principles of the maximization of human happiness.

         Higher levels of reasoning increase with age


         Stage 6: Universal principles: morality of individuals principles and conscience

         Process of making moral judgments has become autonomous.

         Reasoning processes involved clearly sophisticated

         People conform both to social standards and internalized ideals.

         Belief in the dignity of human life.

         Intent is to avoid self-condemnation rather than criticism by others.

         Base their decisions on abstract principles e.g.: justice, compassion and equality.

         Based on a respect for others.

         Highly individualistic moral beliefs.

         Many people may never attain the highest level of moral judgment.



o        Importance of social interaction on moral development:


         Role taking ability are basic to moral judgments.

         Importance to participate in social activities


o        Application of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development


         Educational program to foster the development of moral judgment.

         Explore the relationship between social interaction and moral development

         Practice in exploring possible solutions to moral dilemmas

         Practice in negotiating with others.

         Outcome of educational programs

         Some evidence that they foster moral judgments

         Promote closer links between judgments and behavior.

         Some programs fail to meet their goals

         Unclear what specific teaching tactics or curriculum materials are most effective in helping children develop their moral reasoning.


         Parenting role in moral development

         Kohlberg didn’t think that parents play a role in moral development.

         But cognitive structuring involved in parental discipline has been shown to affects moral judgments.


         For example:

         Consistent disciplinary techniques.

         Reasoning and explanation

         Initiate discussions of the feelings of others

         Promote a democratic family-discussion style

         Using these children have more:

         mature moral judgments and

         more self controlled behavior


o        Critique of Kohlberg’s theory


         Support that children proceed through stages of moral judgment

         As Kohlberg suggested that progress should be towards the higher stage rather than the lower stage:

         Cross-cultural studies show that regardless of background individuals progress through the stage sequence in the same manner

         Due to Kohlberg’s influence cognitive judgment and understanding are central concerns of a contemporary approach to the issue of morality.


         Kohlberg in recent forms of scoring the system he has dropped stage 6 because the dominant pattern of moral reasoning in most adults appears to be conventional (level II)

         EG Colby, Kohlberg and Gibbs and Lieberman, 1983) no adults reached stage 6. fewer than 10% stage 5.

         Cultural bias:

         Kohlberg focused on an individual’s rights and obligations

         may lead to underestimates of moral development in other cultures

         may exclude some culturally unique domains of morality.

         Puts the moral principle of justice at the centre of his model but principle of caring for others is seen as equally important (Gilligan, 1977)

         Not enough to know what is right and wrong one has to care

         Neglect of feeling and of action that is argued that this theory is not a complete account of moral development.


         Gilligan an ethic of care


o        Gender differences

         females think of morality more personally than do males.

         An ethic of care characterizes females approach to moral decision.

         Emphasizes compassion and a sense of responsibility to others

         Traces differences to differences in ways of viewing the self

         1) females

         define themselves in relation to others.

         From this comes a sense of responsibility of each to the other.

         Assumption of separateness highlights the need for rules to regulate the actions of each with respect to the other.


o        Levels


         Each level reflects a different resolution to their conflict between responsibilities to themselves and to others.

o        Level 1: caring for self (survival)

         Primary concern is care for oneself

         Females soon see this as selfish and move on to level 2.

o        Level 2: caring for others (goodness)

         Equate morality with care of others.

         Move on to level 3 when the exclude themselves as legitimate recipients of their own care.

o        Level 3: caring for self and for others (Truth)


o        Critique

         Studies find both find males and females share concerns about justice and care and that individuals use both orientations in thinking through a dilemma.