Eisenberg- moral development

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  • Hedonistic: Reasoning is based on own interest
  • Needs-orientated: Reasoning based on recognition of another's needs without sympathy or reference to moral values
  • Approval-orientated: Reasoning based on what is expected or what is praiseworthy
  • Empathic/self-reflected: Reasoning based on sympathy and role taking
  • Strongly internalised: Reasoning is based on clear values, dignity and rights

Key Features:

  • Fluid and flexible
  • Hedonistic regression: in adolescence, individuals often regress back to the hedonistic stage
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Eisenberg's model of pro-social reasoning

  • Option to do good (different to Kohlberg's technique where both outcomes were negative)
  • Participant must chose between helping another person or looking after their own interests
  • Eisenberg argued that this method was more sophisticated then Kohlberg's as it had ecological validity
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  • Aim: To investigate changes in responses to pro social dilemmas with age
  • Method: Participants were presented with the birthday party dilemma and interviewed at 2 year intervals from age 4 to age 12
  • Results: Preschool and nursery age children tended to score lower, giveing self orientated or hedonistic answers in which they put their own intersts and pleasures before the needs of others. Older children scored more highlu, giving empathic answers in which they placed more importance on the feelings of others.
  • Conclusion: Pro social reasoning changes with age from reasoning based on hedonism to reasoning based on empathy
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  • Similarities in levels: Eisenberg's hedonistic level is similar to Kohlberg's punishment and reward, Eisenberg's approval orientated level (middle) is similar to Kohlberg's good boy/good girl level (middle)= VALIDITY
  • Berk: Noted that PSR is more adavnced than reasoning about wrongdoing (Kohlberg) due to Eisenberg's dilemmas being more within a child's experiences (Heinz vs Birthday party dilemma)= PSR is a better measurement of moral development
  • More relevant: PSD is similar to how our moral reasoning is questioned in real life situations= PREDICTIVE VALIDITY
  • No legal element:Will not divide gender as Gilligan stated due to their being no legal element to stimualte and ethic of care or an ethic of justice= supports Berk's idea of sophistication
  • Cross cultural validity: PSR model applies to other countries in the western world (Similar culture) but different results were found in Papua New Guinea (different culture- suppots the flexibilty of Eisenberg's model)
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