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Kohlberg- A01
Kohlberg wanted to know where moral reasoning changed with age. To investigate this he studied 72 middle and lower
class boys. The participants were aged 10-16 years old. He told each boy a moral dilemma story (for example the Heinz
dilemma) and then asked them a series of questions about it. Kohlberg was interested in the reasoning behind the
decisions. The results showed that younger participants tended to reason on the basis of likely punishment or personal
gain, whereas older participants were more concerned with issues such as care, the law and views of society.
From these results, Kohlberg created a six stage theory. This theory suggests that moral reasoning becomes increasingly
complex with ages as individuals progress through an invariant sequence of stages. This stage theory is as follows:
THE PRE-CONVENTIONAL LEVEL (Moral reasoning is externally controlled):
· STAGE 1-Punishment= Reasoning is based on whether or not an action would result in punishment.
· STAGE 2-Reward= The child's reasoning is based on what they have to gain and if it benefits them then it is
morally right.
THE CONVENTIONAL LEVEL (Involves the active maintenance of a socially agreed system of behaviours):
· STAGE 3-Good boy, good girl= This is based on what other people's interpretation of what a `good action' (morally
right) is.
· STAGE 4-Law and order= Moral decisions are based on authority and conforming to the law.
THE POST CONVENTIONAL LEVEL (Morality is internal rather than external):
· STAGE 5-Social contract= Moral decisions are made according to unique circumstances and involve the
recognition that law may not always be fair or appropriate.
· STAGE 6-Ethical principle= These are self chosen ethical principles which are seen as more important than the

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Kohlberg- research ao2
The Train Dilemma Kohlberg and Kramer Cross Cultural
Kohlberg did a follow up study and Most research has confirmed the Although much cross-cultural
created another dilemma story to sequence of stages proposed by evidence supports Kohlberg's
tell participants to see if people Kohlberg. Kohlberg and Kramer sequence of stages, Berk found
would respond in a similar way to tested a group of teenagers with that people from technologically
the Heinz dilemma and also if they dilemmas at 3 year intervals.…read more

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Kohlberg- Methodology ao2
Predictive Validity Ecological Validity Reliability
It is argued that Kohlberg's Kohlberg's participants were Kohlberg's study has problems
dilemma technique doesn't have questioned about hypothetical with reliability as participants often
predictive validity as they don't situations which were most produced long and rambling
predict how participants would act unlikely to ever happen responses which can be hard to
in real-life dilemma situations as themselves. This means that analyse objectively, meaning the
it's very unlikely to happen.…read more

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Kohlberg- More ao2
· Respondents who scored at the higher levels may be more sophisticated simply because the
respondent is more educated and has the language ability to produce more complex arguments. So
the moral dilemma technique could just measure the level of education rather than moral
· Participants themselves don't always show reliability. Their responses sometimes indicate
reasoning at one stage but later in the same interview they may indicate reasoning at another
stage.…read more

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Kohlberg- Compared To
Other Theorists
Gilligan Einsenberg Piaget Damon
· Gilligan contrasts with · Eisenberg's stage theory · Piaget thought that
Kohlberg as while his is flexible and believes children's moral
work was believed to that we don't progress development stopped
lack ecological validity, with age but can regress after the age of 10. This
Gilligan interviewed and progress depending contrasts to Kohlberg
pregnant women who on the situation.…read more


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