Kohlberg (1968) The Child as Moral Philosopher

Obri Gonzalez
Mind Map by Obri Gonzalez, updated more than 1 year ago
Obri Gonzalez
Created by Obri Gonzalez over 5 years ago


Developmental psychology with Kohlberg's Moral development theory on "The Child as Moral Philosopher". A thorough explanation for revision purposes with Methodology, Procedures, Findings, Conclusions & Evaluation. Lastly I explain the 6 stages of development. All from the NEW SPEC Psychology AS WJEC.

Resource summary

Kohlberg (1968) The Child as Moral Philosopher
  1. Methodology
    1. Undertook various studies related to moral development, using Interviews to collect Quantitative Data
      1. Included Cross-Cultural comparisons & Longitudinal elements
      2. Participants
        1. Kohlberg & colleagues studied group of 75 American BOYS
          1. Age: 10-16 & 22-28
            1. He also studied people in:
              1. Great Britain
                1. Canada
                  1. Taiwan
                    1. Mexico
                      1. Turkey
                2. Procedures
                  1. Assess Moral development created 9 hypothetical moral dilemmas
                    1. Heinz Dilemma


                      • Heinz Moral Dilemma In Europe a woman was nearing her death from a rare type of cancer. There was 1 drug the doctor thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a pharmacist in same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make BUT the pharmacist was charging 10 times what the drug cost him to make. He payed £400 for the radium & was charging £4,000 for small dose of it. The sick woman's husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together  £2,000, which was half of what it cost. He told the pharmacist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it or let him pay for it later. BUT the pharmacist said, "NO! I discovered the drug & I'm going to make money from it." Heinz got desperate & broke into the man's store to steal the drug for his wife.
                      1. It presented 2 MORAL issues
                        1. Each Pp's asked to discuss 3 of these dilemmas
                          1. Prompted by a set of 10+ Open ended Q's
                            1. > Should Heinz have stolen the drug? Why or why NOT?
                              1. Respondent favoured stealing
                                1. > If Heinz doesn't love his wife, should he steal the drug for her? Why or why NOT?
                                2. Respondent favoured NOT stealing
                                  1. > Does it make a difference whether or NOT he loves his wife? Why or why NOT?
                                  2. Suppose the person dying is NOT his wife but a stranger
                                    1. > Should Heinz steal the drug for the stranger? Why or why NOT?
                              2. Boys answers were Analysed & common themes were identified, so Stage Theory could be constructed
                                1. Each BOY was re-interiewed every 3 years
                                2. Same kind interview was used w/ children & adults from other countries
                          2. Findings
                            1. BOYS answers were Analysed & common themes were identified so that each "Stage Theory" could be constructed
                              1. Stage theory is an account of how behaviour changes @ different ages (stages)
                                1. Younger children thought at "Preconventional" level
                                  1. As they got older their reasons for moral decisions became less focused on themselves & more focused on doing good because of relationships w/ others are important
                                2. Final level of development is related to Moral Principles
                                  1. Results in Mexico & Taiwan were the same except that development was a little slower
                                3. Conclusions
                                  1. Kohlberg concluded the Key features of development are:
                                    1. > Stages are Invariant & Universal - People everywhere go through the same stages in same order
                                      1. > Each NEW stage represents a more 'Equilibrated' form of Moral understanding, resulting in a more logically consistent & morally mature form of understanding
                                      2. Moral discussion classes can be used to help children develop their moral thinking
                                        1. Discussions between children @ stages 3 & 4 result in the stage 3 child moving forwards
                                      3. Evaluation
                                        1. Sampling
                                          1. One issue is that it's based on interviews w/only BOYS
                                            1. Carol Gilligan (1982)
                                              1. Suggested Male morality might be quite different to Female morality - it's based on Justice rather than carigness
                                                1. Although Kohlberg's moral dilemmas are more concerned w/ wrongdoing & are therefore more to do w/ justice
                                                  1. Gilligan found evidence showing women tend to be more focused on relationships (caring) than justice when making moral decisions
                                                    1. Suggesting Kohlberg's theory was GENDER-BIASED & restricted only 1 type of morality
                                                      1. However many psychologists have come to recognise that Gilligan's critique was more of an expansion of Kohlberg's theory than an alternative to it. (Jorgensen 2006)
                                                        1. Core concepts put forward by Kohlberg remain unchallenged, such as the invariant sequence of development & the importance of social interactions
                                          2. External Validity
                                            1. Gilligan (1982)
                                              1. Criticised Kohlberg's research because the evidence was NOT based on real-life decisions
                                                1. The Moral Dilemmas were hypothetical scenarios which may have made little sense, especially to young children
                                                  1. Gilligan's own research involved interviewing people about their own moral dilemmas, such as the decision about whether to have an abortion
                                            2. Social Desirability Bias
                                              1. One problems w/ self-report methods is that Pp's prefer to present themselves in a Good Light
                                                1. Therefore may describe their moral behaviour somewhat IDEALISTIC rather than what they would actually do
                                                  1. Kohlberg was asking how people would THINK rather than what they would DO. Therefore this theory is about idealistic Moral thinking than about behaviour
                                                    1. Kohlberg claimed it was a theory of REASONING. He predicted that those that reason in a more mature fashion should be inclined to more morally mature behaviour & he found some support for this
                                                      1. When students were given the opportunity to cheat on a test
                                                        1. 15% college students @ Post-Conventional stage cheated
                                                          1. 70% @ Pre-Conventional stage cheated
                                                          2. However Burton (1976)
                                                            1. Found that people only behave consistently w/ their Moral principles on some kinds of Moral behaviour, such as; Cheating/Sharing toys
                                                              1. Concluded that generally it is likely that factors other than moral principles affect moral behaviour, such as the likelihood of punishment
                                                2. Stages of Moral Development
                                                  1. Preconventional Level
                                                    1. Children accept the rules of authority figures & judge actions by their consequences. Actions that result in punishments are bad, those that bring rewards are good
                                                      1. STAGE 2
                                                        1. The Instrumental Purpose Orientation
                                                          1. Children view actions as 'right' if they satisfy their own needs
                                                          2. STAGE 1
                                                            1. The Punishment & Obedience Orientation
                                                              1. This style of morality ignores the intentions behind a behaviour & focuses on obeying rules that are enforced by punishment
                                                          3. Conventional Level
                                                            1. Individuals continue to believe that conformity to social rules is desirable, BUT this is NOT out of self-interest. Maintaining the current social system ensures positive human relationships & social order
                                                              1. STAGE 4
                                                                1. The Social-order maintaining orientation
                                                                  1. Marks the shift from defining what is right in terms of role expectations to defining what is right in terms of norms established by the larger social system
                                                                  2. STAGE 3
                                                                    1. Interpersonal Cooperation
                                                                      1. This is a 'good boy-good girl' orientation. What is right is defined by what is expected by others
                                                                  3. Post-Conventional Level
                                                                    1. Individual moves beyond unquestioning compliance w/ the norms of their own social system. The individual now defines moral principles that apply to all societies & situations
                                                                      1. STAGE 6
                                                                        1. The Universal ethical principles orientation
                                                                          1. Morality is defined in terms of self-chosen abstract moral principles. Laws usually conform these principles, but where this is NOT the case, the individual acts in accordance w/ their Moral principles
                                                                          2. STAGE 5
                                                                            1. The Social Contract Orientation
                                                                              1. Laws are seen as relative & flexible. Where they are consistent w/ individual rights & the interests of the majority, they are upheld (to preserve social order), otherwise they can be changed
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