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Lecture 11

PSYC 251 Lecture 11: Module11

Course Code
PSYC 251
Stanka A Fitneva

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PSYC 251 March 27, 2018
Module 11
Moral Development
Piaget’s Theory of Moral Development
- Piaget said that children go from a rigid acceptance of the rules to an understanding of
o Rules exist as things in the world that cannot be changed to idea that rules can be
changed depending on situation
o Understand that they themselves can invent rules
- Watched kids play games
- Gave vignettes for them to interpret
Piaget’s Stages
- Morality of Constraint Stage aka. Heteronomous Morality
o Up to age 7
o Maps onto his pre-operational stage
o Rules can’t be broken
â–Ş Blind obedience to authority
o Pay attention to consequences not intention
â–Ş The little boy who broke the 15 cups was worse than the boy who stole
one cookie, even though the 15 cups were broken by complete accident
â–Ş No sense of degree
o Think rules are real things that exist in the world
o Imminent justice
â–Ş Breaking rules will be punished
- Transitional stage
o Ages 7 – 10
o Maps onto his concrete operational stage
o Begin to understand that rules can change according to majority opinion
o They are at school and play games with peers and begin to realize that they can
change the rules if enough people agree with them
- Autonomous Morality
o Ages 11+
o Maps onto his formal operation stage
o Take intentions into account
â–Ş Accident vs. crime are vastly different
o Punishment must fit the crime (fairness)
o Understand why we need rules
Evaluation of Piaget
- Moral development does depend on cognitive maturity and amount of interaction with
others and parent
o Very dependent on parents

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PSYC 251 March 27, 2018
Module 11
- Children do increasingly think about intentions, but at much younger ages than Piaget
gave them credit for
o Piaget made tasks very difficult
- Piaget underestimated age at which intentions are taken into account and this probably
has to do with how he presented his paradigms, which highlight the number of cups
broken instead of intention, the child gets it correct at a much younger age
- Authoritarian parenting produces children with slow moral development
o Don’t internalize rules and don’t develop sense of conscious
- Perspective-taking, Piagetian logic tasks, and IQ are correlated with moral development
o Definitely a cognitive component, but also a social component, which Piaget
didn’t account for
Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development
- Influenced by Piaget
- Proposed discontinuous, hierarchical stages
- Presented hypothetical moral dilemmas
o What should the character do?
o Why?
o Most famous was the “Heinz Dilemma”
The Heinz Dilemma
- Heinz’s wife is sick and there’s one drug that the doctors think might save her
- Drug is expensive to produce and the company has a 1000% markup
- Heinz can only collect half the money he needs
- He asks the CEO if he can pay the rest of the money back later and the CEO says no
- Questions asked:
o What should Heinz do?
o Should Heinz steal the drug?
o Would it be wrong or right if he did? Why?
- Kohlberg was most interested in participants’ reasoning behind their answer
o The reasoning behind why they chose what Heinz should do was how he did his
Kohlberg’s Levels and Stages
- Pre-Conventional Level
o Self-centred
o Answers behind this level were focused on getting rewards or avoiding
- Conventional Level
o Social relationships
o Answers behind this level were focused on compliance with social duties and
- Post-Conventional Level

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PSYC 251 March 27, 2018
Module 11
o About ideals and moral principles
- Two stages within each level for 6 stages in total
o Names of the 6 stages don’t need to be memorized, just know what they’re about
and where they fall
Level 1: Kohlberg’s Levels – Pre-Conventional Moral Reasoning
- Stage 1 = Punishment and Obedience Orientation
o All about the character avoiding punishment
o Answer examples: “Heinz shouldn’t steal the drug because he’ll be caught and
sent to jail” or “you should steal the drug because if you let your wife die, you
will get in trouble”
o Not about if Heinz should or shouldn’t steal, it’s more about the reasoning
- Stage 2 = Instrumental and Exchange Orientation
o All about what’s in it for the characters; getting something positive out of the
o Making exchanges fair
o Answer examples: “he should steal the drug so his wife can cook for him” or “it’s
not fair to steal because the doctor worked hard to make that drug and spent lots
of money”
Level 2: Kohlberg’s Levels – Conventional Moral Reasoning
- Stage 3 = Good Girl, Nice Boy Orientation
o Doing what’s expected of you
o Answer examples: “if you let your wife die, your family will be disappointed in
you” or “if you get caught, the druggist will be mad at you and you’ll dishonour
your family”
o Focus on others’ opinions of you
- Step 4 = Law and Order Orientation
o Fulfilling duties, upholding laws, contributing to society
o Answer examples: “as her husband, it’s his duty to steal the drug but, if he gets
caught he broke the law so he should go to jail” or “it’s against the law to steal”
Level 3: Kohlberg’s Levels – Post-Conventional Moral Reasoning
- Stage 5 = Social Contract/Individual Rights Orientation
o Upholding rules that are in best interest of group but, certain universal values and
rights should be upheld
o Answer examples: “he should steal because everyone in society has the right to
life” or “the right to life is more important than the right to property”
o Focus on idea that some rules are more important than others
- Stage 6 = Universal Ethical Principles
o Commitment to self-chosen ethical principles like equality of human rights
o This stage was almost never reached
o Hard to distinguish between stage 5 and 6
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