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Moral devleopment.docx

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McMaster University
Richard B Day

June 13 , 2013 Psych 2AA3: Child Development Moral Development Prosocial Behaviour - ALTRUISM – “intentional, voluntary behaviour intended to benefit another”  Evident at age 2 or 3 - Older children  Will share toys  More likely to provide physical and verbal assistance - Consistent with the ability to regulate emotions  If a child does not feel any personal impediment to helping they are more likely to help  Difficulty regulating emotions may make it more difficult to help others - How children are taught  American children are less likely to brag about test marks  Chinese children are more likely to share their grade as they are willing to help them - Video: The Nature of Things Born to be Good  Infants choose the friendly helper over the hinderer  Understand that helping others is good but only to those who deserve help  May be born in altruistic tendencies  Learn from parents and others  Paying attention to the intention of others Understanding Rules and Intentions - Learn distinction between conventional rules and moral rules - Conventional rules  Arbitrary rules created by a particular group or culture  Specific to a context – only applicable to some context  Created by people  Rules might be open to change  School rules - Moral rules  Universal and obligatory – reflecting basic principles that guarantee rights of others  No killing – moral rule - Young children can make distinctions between accidents and intentional behaviours  Intentional behaviours are wrong and should be punished  Accidents are more forgiving - Emerging theory of mind and cognitive development is important for moral development Moral Development - Dimensions of moral development  Moral emotions  Freud o Moral rules learned through identification with the same-sex parent during Phallic stage o Superego develops  Conscience – list of things that “good boys” and “good girls” don’t do  Disobedience leads to guilt, a moral emotion  Ego ideal – list of things that “good boys” and “good girls” do  Failure to live up to these standards brings shame  Moral emotions develop earlier than Freud would expect Moral Emotions - Erikson  Adds pride when they do live up to the standard  Moral rules learned from both parents - Research supports  The role of parents in forming moral emotions  Formation occurs before age 6  Abused children display less understanding of situations that produce guilt and pride in people - Cognitive development helps children move from feeling guilt only when caught (age 7) to internally feeling guilt when doing something wrong (age 9 or 10) - Guilt-behaviour connection is linked to temperament  Fearful temperament – more guilt - Parenting style  Children of mothers who use power-assertive discipline such as yelling and spanking display less guilt Moral Behaviour - Group dictates what is acceptable behaviour - B.F. Skinner  Operant conditioning  Consequences teach children to obey moral rules  Adults reward moral behaviour with praise  Adults punish morally unacceptable behaviour  Punishment may interfere with moral development  When punishment is severe and exceeds the crime, children may fail to make the connection between the behaviour and the punishment  Children may refrain from bad behaviour only when the parent is present  An approach that combines punishment with reasoned explanations may be more effective - Albert Bandura  Children don’t have to be directly reinforced for behaviour but may learn from reinforcement through a model  Children learn more from modeled behaviours  Rewarded behaviours will be imitated while punished behaviours will be avoided  Research supports this theory  Children learn moral behaviour, both acceptable and unacceptable, from a model’s behaviour Moral Reasoning - The process of making judgments about the rightness or wrongness of specific acts - Doesn’t matter whether the ultimate decision is right or wrong, it matters how individuals come to that decision - Piaget – moral judgments appear with concrete operational thinking  Moral realism stage  Children younger than 8  Believe that rules of games can’t be changed because they came from authorities  Moral relativism stage  Children older than 8  Weight the situation  There can now be acceptations to rules  People can agree to change rules if they want to  All players in a game must follow the same rules - Research supports Piaget  Children over 8 give more weight to intentions rather than to consequences when making moral judgments  Younger children give more weight to consequences of the behaviour Eisenberg’s Model - In terms of whether self-interest was involved - Evaluated children’s empathy and prosocial behaviour on responses to dilemmas involving self-interest  Hedonistic reasoning – used by preschoolers who are concerned with self-oriented consequences rather than moral rules  Behave in their self-interest  Needs-oriented reasoning – the child expresses concern for the other person’s needs even if it conflicts with his wishes or desires (
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