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An essential approach in understanding crime is whether
the people who commit offences think differently to non-
The belief that criminals have different morals to non-
criminals or that they lack morals in some way is a basic and
fundamental explanation of criminal behaviour.
Moral development refers to the development of values
learned by children during socialisation, mainly from
parents or guardians
Moral development is the time when children are learning
what is right and wrong.
It is said that children have a grasp of morality at age 10
which is the age of criminal responsibility in the UK.
Other countries have different age limits…read more

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Kohlberg was heavily influenced by the work of
He believed that children's cognition developed
Level stages
1 (Pre-Morality) Doing what is right because fear of
STAGE ONE punishment
Level 1 (Pre-Morality) Doing what is right for personal gain,
STAGE TWO perhaps a reward
Level 2 (Conventional Morality) Doing what is right according to the
STAGE THREE majority
Level 2 (Conventional Morality) Doing what is right because it is your duty
STAGE FOUR to help society
Level 3 (Post Conventional Morality) Doing what it is morally right, even if it is
STAGE FIVE against the law- Law to restrictive
Level 3 (Post Conventional Morality) Doing what is right because the human life
STAGE SIX is sacred…read more

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AIM: To find evidence in support of the progression
through stages of moral development
58 working/middle class boys
Chicago, USA
Aged 7, 10, 13, 16
Two hour interview
10 dilemmas to solve
Some of the boys were followed up in 3 yearly
The study was repeated in 1969 in UK, Mexico,
Taiwan, USA and Yucatan…read more

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Younger boys tended to perform at stages 1 and 2
Older boys tended to perform at stages 3 and 4
This pattern was consistent across different cultures…read more

Slide 6

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The evidence from the study supports the idea of a
moral development stage theory
This study would suggest that criminals have not
developed morals…read more


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