Kohlberg

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  • Kohlberg
    • Aim
      • investigate development in moral reasoning throughout adolescent and early adulthood, and the extent to which these changes hold true in a range of cultures
    • Sample
      • 75 American boys who were aged 10-16 at the start were followed at 3 year intervals through to ages 22-28
    • Research method
      • longitudinal study, self report. presented hypothetical moral dilemmas taken from medieval literature, 25 different moral themes.
    • Procedure
      • boys presented with hypothetical moral dilemmas in the form of short stories which covered 25 moral themes. ask to solve and suggest what the character in the dilemma should do.
    • Level 1 (pre conventional, up to 10 years old): stage 1 punishement and obedience, stage 2 instrumental /hedonistic orientation
      • Level 2 (conventional morality, early teens): stage 3 conformity, stage 4 law and order.
        • Level 3 (post conventional morality, adulthood): stage 5 social contract vs. individual rights, stage 6 universal ethical principles orientation.
    • Key Findings
      • 50% of ppts thinking was at one single stage regardless of dilemma involved, morality changed the older they got, not all participants progressed through all the stages and reached stage 6
    • Cross cultural findings
      • Taiwanese boys aged 10-13 tended to give classic stage 2 responses, based on family values and would suggest stealing food is acceptable to feed his wife otherwise she would die and he has to pay for the funeral
      • Mexico and Taiwan development was slower than US.
        • No important differences were found in the development of moral thinking among catholics, jews, atheists, etc.

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