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Chapter 15

PSYC 2450 Chapter Notes - Chapter 15: Inhibitory Control Test, Electra Complex, Attribution Bias

Course Code
PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

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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

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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

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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
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
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
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?
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