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Lecture

PSYB32H3 Lecture Notes - Prosocial Behavior, Moral Realism, Moral Development


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB32H3
Professor
Mark Schmuckler

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Psyb20-ch 14
An overview of moral development
-every society has a system of rules about the rightness and the wrongness of certain behaviors
-satisfaction when conforming and emotional discomfort when violating
-internalization, children incorporate other’s ideas and beliefs into own concepts of themselves
and develop personal standards of conduct
-3 basic components of morality: cognitive, behavioral and emotional
-cognitive, knowledge of ethical rules and judgments of the goodness and badness of acts
-behavioral, people’s actual behavior in situations that invoke ethical considerations
-emotional, people’s feeling about situations and behaviors that involve moral and ethical
decisions
-empathy: experiencing the same emotion that some else is
Cognitive theories of moral development
Piaget’s cognitive theory of moral development
-mature morality includes both an understanding and acceptance of social rules and a concern
for equality and reciprocity in human relationships, form basis of justice
-how children change their attitudes toward rules in common games and by examining the way
they change their judgments of the seriousness of transgressions over time
Learning the rules of moral behavior
-premoral stage: show little concern for or awareness of the rules, gain satisfaction from
manipulating the marbles and finding out how they can be used in different ways
-moral realism: develop great concern and respect for rules that come from authority, see rules
as immutable and unchanging and not to be questioned. See moral aboutilism, which is a
rigidity in the rules. Immanent justice: any deviation from the rules as inevitably resulting in
punishment (karma)
-2 factors contribute: egocentrism (only see situations as they do) and immature way of
thinking (confuse external reality with their own thought processes and subjective experiences)
-morality of reciprocity: judgments are characterized by the recognition that social rules are
arbitrary agreements that can be questioned and changed
-realize obedience to authority is neither necessary nor always desirable, and violations of the
rules are not always wrong or inevitable punished
-if behavior is to be punished should be related to both the wrongdoer’s intentions and the
nature of transgression
-equalitarianism; they believe there should be equal justice for all
Evaluation of piaget’s theory
-they found regular age trends in the development of moral judgment from moral realism to
moral reciprocity, but other cultures this is less consistent, different cultures the belief in
immanent justice increases rather than decreases with age
-piaget underestimated the cognitive capacities of young children, knew moral realism younger

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-viewing the scenarios rather than hearing them allowed the children to see more info like
facial expressions and emotions and they could better judge the intentions
-underestimation of young children’s ability to make moral judgments, piaget mixed action
outcome with actor intention
-when they were separated children were better and understood the basis of judgment
Kholberg’s cognitive theory of moral development
-believed that the child’s cognitive capabilities determine the evolutions of her moral reasoning
-preconventional level: desire to avoid punishment and gain rewards
-conventional level: children identify with their parents and conform to what they regard as
right and wrong, internalized the motive to conform, not ethical standards
-post-conventional level: moral judgment is rational and internalized and the conduct is
controlled by and internalized ethical code
*ch for stages 542
-kholberg predicted no special level of response at any specific age, the general sequence of
stages is followed in these participants responding
-sequence should be invariant across cultures
-once a person has attained a high level of moral cognition, he will typically not regress and to
back to earlier stages
Moral development in girls and woman
-kohlberg failed to take account of possible differences in the moral orientation of females and
males
-researchers have rates most women’s moral judgment on these tests at stage 3, the stage in
which morality is conceived in terms of goodness and badness, they maintain the goodwill and
approval of others
-gilligan, said his theory fails to account for gender based differences
-study mothers used more care than justice orientations where fathers displayed slightly more
justice than care orientation
-but when they were asked to focus on real like dilemmas they both father and mother focused
on caring
-gilligan argues that the caring and interpersonal perspective should be added to the
understanding of moral reasoning in all people, different parts of the brain involved in decision
making regardless of gender
Effects of social interaction on moral development
-programs focus on peer discussion of controversial moral issues and practice exploring
solutions
-interventions did foster moral judgment and promote closer links between judgment and
behavior
-children’s moral judgments are also advanced when their parents use consistent disciplinary
techniques that involve reasoning and explanation
-children’s understanding of moral rules begin at a very early age

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Evaluation of kohlbergs theory
-dominant pattern of responding of moral reasoning in most adults appears to be conventional
-research has generally supported the sequencing of stages
-criticism, people often show a remarkable inconsistency in their moral judgments
-depending on situation they used diff moral judgments
-moral reasoning is a process of coordinating different perspectives of a moral dilemma as
opposed to simply focusing on the application of rules
-theory is simply poorly equipped to account for the ways in which people make moral
decisions in their everyday lives
-cross cultural studies, individuals, regardless of backgrounds, developed through the stage
sequence in the same manner
-research evidence suggests the cultural bias, some cultures couldn’t even relate
-kholbergs focus on individual rights and obligations may lead to underestimates of moral
development in other cultures or may exclude some culturally unique domains of morality
-moral judgments differ depending on the way questions are presented
-moral judgments involve the needto balance competing moral issues and kohlbergs original
stories oversimplified the nature of the dilemmas people face in everyday moral decision
making
-history shapes views of morality, makes them sensitive to some events
Distinguishing moral judgments from other social rules
-rules for behavior and social conventions-socially based rules about everyday conduct
-children as young as 3 can distinguish moral issues from social convention issues
-children view moral violations as more wrong because they result in harm to another and
violate norms of justice and other’s rights, wheras they see deviations from social conventions
as impolite or disruptive
-moral issues are fixed invariant across cultures, social conventions are arbitrary and relative
and vary across communities and cultures
-children’s differential between moral and conventional rules has implications for another
aspect of moral development, the development of tolerance
-children are intolerant of moral violations, often tolerate divergent social conventions
-mother’s of 2 year olds responded to social conventions violations with rules about social
order and social regulation that focused on the disorder that they act created
-respond to moral transgressions by focusing on the consequences of the acts for other’s rights
and welfare or by making perspective takin requests
Do moral judgments always lead to moral behavior
-the maturity of a child’s moral judgment does not necessarily predict how the child will
actually behave
-children’s behavior is impulsive and not guided by rational and deliberate thought
-older children, moral judgments and behaviors may be linked
-executing a moral action step 1 child interprets the situation in terms of how other people’s
welfare could be affected by his actions. Step 2 the child figures out what the ideally moral
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