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PSY210 Ch.12 morality.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Justin Mc Neil

PSY210 Ch.12 Morality 12/15/2012 3:41:00 PM Overview: 1. Rooted in human nature? 2. The adoption of social norms? 3. Social understanding 4. Moral reasoning of young children 5. Development of morally relevant self-control 6. Development of aggression Morality components:  Emotional + cognitive + behavioral  Self-control, acting morally vs. aggressively 1. Morality as rooted in human nature  Biologically based provisions for moral acts = evolution o Survival of the species = with pity, moral behaviour o Frontal region of cerebral cortex (ventromedial area) = emotional responsiveness + sympathy for others in pain  Ventromedial damage = disruption of social learning = antisocial behaviour.  Psychopaths = reduced activity in their ventromedial area o Ventromedial area = brain based moral substrate that counteracts self-centered motives and promotes concern for others. o Moral acts require nurturing too though (parenting, modeling, teaching, cognitive development) 2. The adoption of social norms?  Psychoanalytic theory vs. social learning theory = how children become moral beings  Both regard moral development as a matter of internalization: adopting societal standards for right action as one’s own.  Morality from society  individual : based on… o Parental style of discipline (type of misdeed) o Child’s characteristics (age + temperament) o Parent’s characteristics o Child’s view of misdeed + reasonableness of parental demands  Psychoanalytic theory: Freud o Morality 3-6 years during Oedipus/electra complex  Desire = possess opposite sex parent  Given up due to fear of punishment + loss of parental love  Maintain parents affection via superego/conscience = by identifying with the same sex parent  Moral standards of same sex parent whose are adopted into their own personality  Previous hostility towards same sex parent is turned towards themselves = internalized hostility = guilt each time they disobey the superego. = Personal punishment o Criticism:  Self-blame is not associated with moral internalization  Guilt with intention of bad acts = responsibility for outcome  Fear of punishment + loss of parental love = do not motivate conscious formation or moral behaviour  Children whose parents act bad also tend to violate moral standards and feel little guilt.  Parents who withdraw love = child responds with self-blame and misbehavior, deny themselves emotion = weak conscious. o Power of inductive discipline:  Induction: an adult helps the child notice others feelings by pointing out the effects of the child’s behaviour on others, noting especially their distress and making clear that the child caused it. = supports conscious development  Warmth + understandable explanation by parents + insisting that child should listen and comply = effective inductive reasoning  “Why did you hit him? You hurt him! Wouldn’t that hurt you?”  Inductive reasoning = prosocial, sympathetic behaviour  Power to cultivate children’s active commitment to moral norms o Harms of over-discipline: threats, punishments, love withdrawal = high levels of fear/anxiety = less cognitive ability for reasoning in child = moral norms are not internalized or thought of o Child’s contribution:  Freud = parents 100% responsible, child as passive  Empathy inherited = more empathetic children need less power assertion, respond better to induction  Temperament: impulsive kids need secure attachment parenting style + firm correction of misbehavior with induction  Children low in anxiety = not enough discomfort with induction to promote development of a strong conscience. Close bond with parent = alternative foundation and motivation for morality.  Goodness of fit parenting styles considering personality of child. o Role of guilt:  Freud was correct that guilt is an important motivator of moral action  Empathy-based guilt can be induced without coercion “im sorry I hurt him”  Dealing with guilt feelings constructively: guiding them to make up for immoral behaviour rather than minimizing/excusing it.  Contrary to Freud: guilt is not the ONLY motivator of moral acts, nor does it all happen during childhood. o Recent psychoanalytic ideas:  Parental attachment of children = vital foundation for acquiring moral standards  Importance of warmth + induction  Low punitiveness = essential for promoting effortful control = self-regulatory dimension of temperament that contributes later to moral maturity.  Superego as a positive, constructive force that leads to initiative (sense of ambition and purpose).  Praise as important as punishment  Emotion as the basis for moral development = Frued + now  Social Learning Theory o Views moral development as being acquired via reinforcement and modeling (rather than a unique course of human development). o Modeling: Operant conditioning, reinforcement via rewards or punishment.  But reinforcement doesn’t explain the rapid development of prosocial acts in kids.  Answer: children learn how to behave via modeling  Modeling 1  then reinforcement.  Child’s willingness to imitate adults who display:  Warmth + responsiveness  Competence + power  Consistency between assertions and behaviour o Effects of punishment:  Physical punishment = ineffective  Only effective when immediate obedience is necessary e.g. 3 year old running into the street  Warmth + reasoning better in most cases  + power assertion for serious misdeeds  Punishment = weak internalization of moral rules, depression, aggression, antisocial behaviour, poor academic results, criminality, abuse  Only temporary results from punishment = not internalization  Inherited use of corporal punishment (use of physical force to inflict pain but not injury)  Punitive parents = more likely to have disobedient kids = heredity contributes  Cultural differences = aggressive white parents (& antisocial disobedient kids), mild physical discipline by warm black parents (& their teens being more obedient, and social) o Alternatives to harsh punishment:  Time out: removing children from the immediate setting until they are ready to act appropriately  Useful when child is out of control, offers a cooling off period for angry parents too.  Withdrawal of privileges: allowance/TV  Punishment can be more effective via:  Consistency  A warm parent-child relationship  Explanations o Positive relationships, positive discipline: a mutually responsive pleasurable mother-child tie predicts a firmer conscience, emphasis on positive emotions as a foundation for moral development o Criticisms of social learning theory/ “Morality as the adoption of social norms” perspective:  Personal commitment to societal norms is essential for moral development, yes.  BUT it must be internalized, with a shared moral code, and cultivation of empathy via inductive discipline o Critique: Morality is not entirely due to internalizing norms as standards may be at odds with important ethical principles and social goals.  In these conditions, deliberate violation of norms is not immoral but justifiable and courageous.  Lincoln + slavery, Martin L.King + racial equality.  Cognitive-developmental approach argues that individuals, instead of internalizing existing rules and expectations, develop morally through construction – actively attending to and interrelating multiple perspectives on situations in which social conflicts arise and thereby deriving new moral understandings.  Views the child as active, and capable of acting upon their own morality, by thinking morally and searching for moral truth via reasoning. 3. Morality + Social understanding  Cognitive-developmental approach = cognitive maturity and social experience = advances in moral understanding.  Piaget Theory of Moral Development o What’s worse?  Breaking 15 cups unintentionally  Breaking 1 cup intentionally  Piaget’s 2 stages of moral understanding to explain this. o 1. Heteronomous morality (5-10yrs):  Heteronomous = under the authority of another  Heteronomous morality = suggests, children in this first stage view rules as handed down by authorities (God, parents, teachers), as having a permanent existence, as unchangeable, and as requiring strict obedience.  Moral understanding limitations:  A) the power of adults to insist that children comply promoted unquestioning respect for rules and those who enforce them.  B) cognitive immaturity, limited capacity of child to imagine others perspectives. They think that all people view rules in the same way. Realism – they see rules as external features of reality, rather than as cooperative principles that can be modified at will.  Adult power + egocentrism + realism = superficial moral understanding. Focus on outcomes over intent. More cups broken = worse, naughtier, despite innocent intentions. o 2. Autonomous morality, or the morality of cooperation (10 years +)  Cognitive development + gradual release from adult control + peer interaction = transition to second stage of autonomous morality  Where they no longer view rules as fixed but see them as flexible, socially agreed-on principles that can be revised to suit the will of the majority.  Especially via peer disagreements, kids realize that peoples perspectives on moral action can differ and that intentions, not concrete consequences, should serve as the basis for judging behaviour.  Gradually learn a standard of fairness through peer interaction called reciprocity  equal concern for welfare of others as oneself.  Mutuality of expectations, not tit-for-tat, ideal reciprocity. Golden rule: do for others as you would have them do unto you.  Evaluations of Piaget’s theory o He underestimated the moral capacities of young children. o Intentions and moral judgments: more evidence to show kids can judge ill-intention as morally worse than worse consequences. o Age 4 = children recognize dif between two morally relevant intentional behaviours: truth + lying o Children realize lying can be ok sometimes, and that truthfulness can be bad in certain cases “I don’t like your drawing”. o Correct about other things (above).  Reasoning about authority: children aren’t as unquestioning about adults as Piaget assumed. They questioned the reach of authority of some adult figures  e.g. principal cant rule another school that isn’t their own. o Knowledge = authority figure to kids, not necessarily status rank. o Peers doing the right thing, telling others to do so too = respected regardless of age. o Adult status becomes is not required for preschool and school age children to view someone as an authority. o Some centration on superficial aspects: older kids, power, status, impressive consequences for not obeying authority. o They can attribute these factors much earlier than Piaget anticipated.  Stage wise progression: o Piaget regarded the 2 stages as partially overlapping o Kohlberg = more extended process of moral development that Piaget presented. o Kohlberg = 6 stages.  Kohlberg’s extension of Piaget’s theory: o Piaget: used clinical interview too, but asked kids to explain which of two kids in a pair of stories was naughtier o Kohlberg: more open-ended, presented kids with hypothetical moral dilemmas and asked what the main actor should do and why.  Kohlberg: moral judgment interview  Individuals resolve dilemmas that present conflicts between 2 moral values and justify their decisions.  “Heinz dilemma”  Obeying the law vs. value of human life  Not stealing vs. saving a dying person  Moral maturity = the way an individual reasons about the dilemma, not the content of the response (whether or not to steal).  Highest stages: moral reasoning and content come together. They agree on why certain actions are justified + agree on what people out to do when faced in moral dilemma. Support individual rights over obeying the law. o Questionnaire approach: Sociomoral Reflection Measure-short form (SRM-SF) used for more efficient gathering and storing of moral reasoning.  Faster  Moral reasoning can be tested without using moral dilemmas. o Kohlberg’s stages of moral understanding:  Invariant, universal moral stages  New stage builds on previous ones  Each stage seen as an organized whole. o Similar ideas by Kohlberg as Piaget for how morality is developed via…  Disequilibrium  Gains in perspective taking  Kohlberg’s moral levels and stages o Preconventional: morality is externally controlled. Children accept the rules of authority figuresm and actions are judged by their consequences. Behaviours that result in punishment are viewed as bad, and those that lead to rewards as good.  1) punishment obedience orientation:  Child can’t take 2 perspectives.  Intentions are ignored, focus instead on fear of authority and avoidance of punishment as reasons to behave morally  Prostealing: if you let wife die you will be in trouble.  Antistealing: if you steal, you’ll go to jail.  2) Instrumental purpose orientation:  Child becomes aware of various perspectives, but understanding is very concrete. Right action flows from self-interest. Reciprocity is tit-for-tat.  Prostealing: its up to each person to decide what they want to do  Antistealing: Heinz is running more risk than its worth to save his wife who is near death. o Conventional: individuals continue to regard conformity to social rules as important, but not for reasons of self-interest. Rather, they believe that actively maintaining the current social system ensures positive human relationships and societal order.  3) The good boy/good girl orientation (morality of interpersonal cooperation):  desire to obey rules to promote social harmony in close personal ties.  Stage 3’s wish to maintain the affection and approval of friends and relatives by being a “good person”.  Child understands the golden rule of ideal reciprocity.  Prostealing: Your family will think your inhuman if you don’t steal the drug, you wont be able to face anyone again if you let her die.  Antistealing: The druggist + your family will think you’re a criminal, you will dishonor your family and yourself.  4) Social-order-maintaining orientation:  Larger perspective is taken beyond the family = societal laws  Moral choices no longer depend on close ties to others  Rules must be equal for everyone, upheld by all.  Laws can not be disobeyed, EVER as they are vital for social order.  Prostealing: He should steal as he has a duty to protect his wifes life, but he would have to accept he is breaking the law by paying the penalty.  Antistealing: He ofcourse wants to save his wife, but its his duty as a citizen to obey the law. If everyone started breaking the law, social chaos would be the result. o Postconventional/Principled level: individuals move beyond unquestioning support for the rules and laws of their own society. They define morality in terms of abstract principles and values that apply to all situations and societies.  5) Social-contract orientation:  laws/rules seen as flexible instruments for furthering human purposes.  Alternatives are imagined to their own social order.  Laws which could be more consistent with individual rights, and interests of the majority. People follow them because of social-contract orientation – free and willing participation in the system for its instrumental value.  Prostealing: law against stealing wasn’t meant to violate a persons right to life. He is justified in stealing in this instance. He shouldn’t be prosecuted, if he is the law needs to be reinterpreted, to account for the right to life.  6) The universal ethical principle orientation:  Highest stage  Right action is defined by self-chosen ethical principles of conscience that apply to everyone, regardless of law/social agreement.  Abstract values – not concrete moral rules  E.g. equal consideration of the claims of all human beings and respect for the worth and dignity of each person.  Prosteali
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