Kohlberg thought that moral understanding progresses in stages
- Moral understanding increases as you grow older because at each stage you take more of the social world into account.
- Used a series of ten moral dilemma stories - the Heinz dilemma, where Heinz chose to break into a shop to steal expensive drugs to cure his dying wife.
- participants had to decide whether these actions were justified.
- Came up with three levels of moral understanding - preconventional morality, conventional morality and postconventional morality:
Level one - Preconventional morality
- Stage one - Punishment and obedience orientation. Reasons for behaviour aren't taken into account. The only reason for not doing something is because you'll be punished. For example, Heinz shouldn't steal the drugs because he'll go to jail.
- Stage two - Instrumental purpose orientation. Morality is based on meeting your own interests and getting what you want. For example, Heinz should steal the drugs…
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