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Chapter 15

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 15: Moral development altruism and aggression  Moral development: Affective, cognitive and behavioral components  Morality: a set of principles or ideals that help the individual to distinguish right from wrong, to act on this distinction, and to feel pride in virtuous conduct and guilt (or other unpleasant emotions) for conduct that violates one’s standards  Internalization: the process of adopting the attributes or standards of other people- taking these standards as one’s own (See table 15.1 for the six dimensions of character that define moral maturity)  How developmentalists look at morality 1. Affective component: feelings that surrounds right or wrong actions and that motivate moral thoughts and actions 2. Cognitive component: way we conceptualize right and wrong and making decisions about how to behave 3. Behavioral component: how we actually behave when we experience the temptation to lie, cheat or violate other moral rules  Moral affect: the emotional component of morality, including feelings such as guilt, shame, and pride in ethical conduct  Moral reasoning: the cognitive component of morality; the thinking that people display when deciding whether various acts are right or wrong  Moral behavior: the behavioral component of morality; actions that are consistent with one’s moral standards in situations in which one is tempted to violate them  The affective component of moral development  Freud’s theory of Oedipal morality  Oedipal morality: Freud’s theory that moral development occurs during the phallic period (ages 3 to 6), when children internalize the moral standards of the same-sex parent as they resolve their Oedipus of Electra conflict  Oedipus complex: boys identify with and pattern himself after his father, particularly if his father was a threating figure who aroused fear (learn his masculine role and internalizes father’s moral standards)  Electra complex: identifying with her mother and internalizing her mother’s moral standards and develop weaker superegos than the boys  Newer ideas about the early development of the conscience  Mutually responsive relationship: parent-child relationship characterized by mutual responsiveness to each other’s needs and goals and shared positive affect  Committed compliance: compliance based on the child’s eagerness to cooperate with a responsive parent who has been willing to cooperate with him or her  Situational compliance: compliance based primarily on a parent’s power to control the child’s conduct 1  Cognitive component of moral development  Piaget’s theory of moral development  The premoral period: in Piaget’s theory, the first five years of life, when children are said to have little respect for or awareness of socially defined rules  Heteronomous morality: Piaget’s first stage moral development, in which children view the rules of authority figures as sacred and unalterable (in between age of 5-10) - Moral absolutes = believe that there is a right and a wrong site to any moral issue (right means following the rules) - Expiatory punishment= punishment for its own sake with no concern for its relation to the nature of the forbidden act - Believe in Immanent justice: the notion that unacceptable conduct will invariably be punished and that justice is ever present in the world  Autonomous morality: Piaget’s second state of moral development, in which children realize that rules are arbitrary agreements that can be challenged and changed with the consent of the people they govern (by ages 10-11)  An evaluation of Piaget’s theory  Do younger children ignore an actor’s intentions? - Flawed in what they; (1) Confounded intentions and consequences by asking whether a person who Caused little harm with a bad intent was naughtier than one who caused a Larger amount of harm while serving good intentions (2) Made information about the consequences of an act much clearer than Information about the actor’s intentions - Younger children assign more weight to consequences and less weight to intentions than older children do, both children consider both sources of info when evaluating other’s conduct  Do younger children respect all rules (and adult authority)? - Moral rules: standards of acceptable and unacceptable conduct that focus on the rights and privileges of individuals - Social-conventional rules: standards of conduct determined by social consensus that indicate what is appropriate within a particular social context - Parents and other adults can retard moral growth by exerting authority and relying on their greater power to enforce rules and regulations  Kohlberg’s theory of moral development - Refined and extended Piaget’s theory of moral development - Ask 10, 13, 16 years old boys to resolve moral dilemmas (1) Obeying a rule, law or authority figure (2) Taking some action that conflicted with these rules and commands while serving a human need - Less interested in respondent’s decision than in the underlying rationale or thoughts structures 2  Level 1: Preconventional morality - Kohlberg’s term for the first two stages of moral reasoning; rules are external to the self rather than internalized, child obey rules to avoid punishment or obtain person rewards Stage 1: Punishment and obedience orientation - Moral judgments are based on the tangible punitive consequences - Goodness or badness of an act depends on its consequences, obeys authorities to avoid punishment Stage 2: Naïve Hedonism - An act for the actor rather than on the relationship of that act to society’s rules and customs  Level 2: Conventional morality - Kohlberg’s term for the third and fourth stages of moral reasoning; person strives to obey rules and social norms in order to win others’ approval or maintain social order (social praise and the avoidance of blame) Stage 3: Good boy or good girl orientation - Moral behavior pleases, helps or is approved of by others, person judge by intentions Stage 4: Social-order maintaining morality - Consider perspectives of the generalized other. What is right is what conforms to the rules of legal authority. Rules and laws maintain a social order that is worth preserving  Level 3: Postconventional (or principled) morality - Kohlberg’s term for the fifth and sixth stages of moral reasoning; define right and wrong in terms of broad principles of justice that could conflict with written laws or with the dictates of authority figures Stage 5: The social contract orientation - Laws are instruments for expressing the will of the majority and furthering human welfare. Laws are viewed as social contracts that we have an obligation to follow but imposed laws that compromise human rights or dignity are considered unjust and worthy of challenge (what is legal and moral appear) Stage 6: Morality of individual principles of conscience - Defines what is right and wrong on basis of self-chosen ethical principles of conscience; not concrete. Abstract moral guidelines or principles of universal justice that transcend any law or social contract that may conflict with them - Vision of ideal moral reasoning; hypothetical construct  Support for Kohlberg’s theory  Are Kohlberg’s stages an invariant sequence? 3 - Levels and stages of moral reasoning are universal structures that are age related. They do not form an invariant sequence  The longitudinal evidence - Individual children progress through the moral stages - (See figure 15.3 for longitudinal study)  Cognitive prerequisites for moral growth - Proconventional child reasons about moral issues from a egocentric point of view - Lawrence Walker; said that child (10-13 years of age) who reached stage 3 were proficient at mutual role-taking - Carolyn Tomlinson-Keasey, Charles Keasey and Deanne Kuhn found that: (1) All participants that showed evidence of postconventional moral reasoning had reached formal operation. (2) Most formal operators had not reached the postconventional level of moral reasoning - Relevant social experience; exposure to people or situations that force a person to reevaluate and alter his or her current moral perspectives  Evidence for Kohlberg’s social-experience hypothesis o Parental and peer influences - Interactions with peers contribute to moral growth - Lawrence Walker did a study comparing parental and peer influences on moral development by having 11-15 years old resolve moral dilemmas with a parent and then with a friend o Friends more likely to challenge and disagree with a child’s or adolescent’s ideas - Transactive interactions: verbal exchanges in which individuals perform mental operations on the reasoning of their discussion partners o Advanced education - Promotes moral growth - Adult who go on to university and receive many years of education reason more complexly about moral issues than those who are less educated (becomes greater with each successive year of school completed) - May foster moral growth in 2 ways: (1) Contributing to cognitive growth (2) Exposing students to diverse moral perspectives that produce cognitive conflict and soul searching o Cultural influences - Living in a complex, diverse and democratic society can stimulate moral development - Give and take of mutual perspective taking - Postconventional moral reasoning emerges primarily in Western democracies but people in rural villages wont show it (less experience with kinds of political conflicts and compromises that take place in diverse society 4  Criticisms of Kohlberg’s approach  Is Kohlberg’s theory culturally biased? - Highest stage reflect a Western ideal of justice and stage theory is biased against people who live in non-western societies or do not value individualism and individual rights enough - Collectivist societies; some are conventional moral thinkers and may have sophisticated concepts of justice - What is morally acceptable and unacceptable and assists the young to adopt that conceptual framework - Contextual perspective: moral judgments shaped by culture and subculture that they live in  Is Kohlberg’s theory gender-biased? - Boys and girls adopt different moral orientations - Morality of justice: Gilligan’s term for what she presumes to be the dominant moral orientation of males, focusing more on socially defined justice as administered through law than on compassionate concerns for human welfare - Morality of care: Gilligan’s term for what she presumes to be the dominant moral orientation of females- an orientation focusing more on compassionate concerns for human welfare than on socially defined justice as administered through law - Little support for Gilligan’s claim that the theory is biased against women and no evidence for sex differences in moral orientations  Is Kohlberg’s theory incomplete? - Focus to much on moral reasoning and neglects moral affect and behavior  Ignored the emotions; pride, shame, guilt and remor
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