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Moral Development

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  1. Moral Development By: Margaret Wellman & Brigid McGuire

  2. Lawrence Kohlberg • Born October 25, 1927 in Bronxville, NY • Psychologist who studied the works of Jean Piaget on the analyst of moral reasoning in children. And their reactions to moral dilemmas. He expanded on Piaget who said moral development stops at the age of 16. • For most of his life he was a professor and researcher at Harvard University • He interviewed 72 boys from Chicago and used his research to create his 6 Stage Theory of Moral Reasoning • Sadly, Kohlberg ended his life at the age of 59

  3. Stages of Moral Development: Level 1: Pre Conventional • Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment • Moral judgment is motivated by a need to avoid punishment • Unquestionable obedience • Stage 2: Individualism & Relativist Orientation • Moral judgment is motivated by a personal need to satisfy own desires

  4. Level 2: Conventional • Stage 3: Good Interpersonal Relationships • Moral judgment is motivated by fear of disapproval or rejection from others • “Good Boy” / “Nice Girl” • Stage 4: Law and Order • Moral judgment is motivated by a fear of criticism by an authority figure • Maintaining the social order

  5. Level 3: Post Conventional • Stage 5: Social Contract & Individual Rights • Moral judgment is motivated by a respect for the community, social contract and laws • Community respect • Stage 6: Universal, Ethical Principles • Moral judgment is motivated by personal conscience

  6. Carol Gilligan • Born November 28, 1936 in NYC • She is a feminist and a psychologist, who is well known for her critique of Lawrence Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning. • At Harvard, she taught alongside Erik Erikson, who greatly influenced her thinking. • Gilligan also worked as a research assistant for Lawrence Kohlberg. • Wrote a groundbreaking book in 1982 called In A Different Voice • Believed in a 3 Stage Theory

  7. Moral Dilemma Judy was a 12 year old girl. Her mother promised her that she could go to a special rock concert coming to their town if she saved up from baby-sitting and lunch money to buy a ticket to the concert. She managed to save up $15 the ticket cost, plus another $5. But then her mother changed her mind and told Judy that she had to spend the money on new clothes for school. Judy was disappointed and decided to go to the concert anyway. She bought a ticket and told her mother that she had only been able to save $5. That Saturday she went to the performance and told her mother that she was spending the day with a friend. A week passed without her mother finding out. Judy then told her older sister, Louise, that she had gone to the performance and had lied to her mother about it. Louise wonders whether to tell their mother what Judy did.

  8. Questions: • Should Louise (the older sister) tell their mother that Judy lied about the money or should she keep quiet? Why? • In wondering whether to tell, Louise thinks of the fact that Judy is her sister. Should that make a difference in Louise’s decision? Why or why not? • Is the fact that Judy earned the money herself important in this situation? Why or why not? • Why in general should a promise be kept? • In thinking back over the dilemma, what would you say is the most responsible thing for Louise to do in this situation?

  9. Research Study: • Are males more likely to achieve higher stages of moral reasoning than females at all age levels as evaluated using Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral development? • Are females more likely to be evaluated consistently (at all ages) at lower levels than males on Kohlberg's stage theory? • Test 3 males and 3 females at three age groups: 3rd grade, 8th grade and college freshmen in order to track moral reasoning development.

  10. Hypothesis • Females of all ages, are more likely to perform at higher levels of moral reasoning compared to their male counterparts.

  11. Setting • Holy Family of Nazareth School • 3rd and 8th Graders • University of Dallas • College Freshmen

  12. Example of Female Data

  13. Example of Male Data

  14. Did we prove it? • Hypothesis: Females of all ages, are more likely to perform at higher levels of moral reasoning compared to their male counterparts. • For the most part, yes! In each age group that we tested, the females proved to have higher moral reasoning than the males. • However, because we were unable to conduct a very extensive test and only tested it on a few number of both males and females, it’s necessary to do more testing in order to answer definitively.