Kohlberg Theory on Moral Development

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By dawny
Words 853
Pages 4
Kohlberg Theory on Moral Development

Team Peace: Belinda Cooper, Dawn Lunsford, and Laverne Phillips

PSY 600

August 24, 2015

Dr. Ellingford

Introduction

Summary of Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory

Three Contributions of Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development

Three Limitations of Kohlberg’s Theory of Moral Development

Although Kohlberg is considered an authority on the human development of morals, his theory is considered limited by other reputable psychologists. Kohlberg’s theory states there are six stages to the development of morals and those six levels are divided into three levels: the pre-conventional stages of moral development, the conventional stage of moral development, and the post-conventional stage of moral development. Other psychologists have claimed that there are no specific stages to the development of morals. Psychologists believe that because people make moral decisions at one age in their life and tend to make the same moral decision later in their life that moral judgment does not develop in stages like Kohlberg theorized.

“With respect to stages, we recognize that age-related trends exist in the types of moral judgments people make, and we acknowledge that cognitive development plays a role in determining them. However, because the evidence suggests that different aspects of moral cognition may change in different ways, that people do not relinquish their old ways of thinking when they acquire new forms of thought, and that different forms of thought can be activated by different experiences, we believe characterizing these phases as stages is misleading (Krebs & Denton, 2006 pg. 673)”.

Kohlberg’s theory is centered on the theory that moral development comes in stages and therefore, others have found his theory of moral development to be limiting.

Another factor…...

Similar Documents

Moral and Cognitive Development

...Running Head: Cognitive And Moral Child Development Cognitive And Moral Child Development Case Study Tanya Coleman Psy 200A Teaching and Learning Does a child’s biological factors influence their behavior? My case study is about an 8.6 year old boy who faces biological, social, and emotional issues at the early stages of his cognitive and moral development. The observation takes place at Tyrell’s school. I am going to apply Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological approach, and Kohlberg’s theory of moral development as it applies to my case study. Besides, I will give an insight of the stages that Tyrell has undergone thus far. In Tyrell’s case environmental issues played a major part in his early development. Tyrell is an African American boy that is 8.6 years old in the 2nd grade. The school he attends is P.S. 36 in Manhattan. He is asthmatic. Tyrell is currently being raised by his mother. His father is incarcerated for assault and robbery. Tyrell recently lived with his grandmother. He is currently living in a shelter with his mother. Tyrell attended the same school since pre-k. He has seen a lot of his friends go on to the 3rd grade while he remains in 2nd grade. Tyrell has a displacement issue at home because he lives in a shelter. Tyrell likes basketball. Tyrell aspires to be a......

Words: 1326 - Pages: 6

Kohlberg's Moral Development

...Joshua Westcott Kohlberg’s Moral Development April 30, 2012 As children’s cognitive abilities mature and expand, so does their ability to reason about moral issues. If we can begin to understand the ways children reason about moral issues, it might help parents and therapists better attune themselves to each child, so as to help each child develop in a positive direction. By attuning to children, the parent or therapist will be better equipped to reason with children at ‘their’ level of development; otherwise, what the adult is trying to communicate will get lost in translation. If we can learn to speak the child’s language, than we can help each child use his or her ‘logic/reasoning’ to effect change in his or her world. Who are the major theorists in the area of moral development? A few of the major theorists in the field of moral development are John Piaget, Lawrence Kohlberg, Elliot Turiel, and Carol Gilligan. Gilligan is a brilliant feminist psychologist who is best known for her 1982 work, “In a Different Voice” (see http://www.amazon.com/In-Different-Voice-Psychological-Development/dp/0674445449/ref=lp_B000APQF3Q_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335926229&sr=1-1). Turiel is best known for developing his ‘domain theory’, which is discussed in his exceptional work, “The Development of Social Knowledge: Morality and Convention” (see......

Words: 6264 - Pages: 26

Moral Development

...decisions and actions one makes that are either wright or wrong. Lawrence Kohlberg a psychologist followed Piaget’s theory of morality. He came to the conclusion in his research that morality in individuals was developed in six stages. Through his research he studied a sample group of seventy two boys in Chicago. The ages of this group were ten, thirteen, and sixteen. He would later go on to research younger children and boys and girls from other cities in the United States and other countries (Crain 1985). Kohlberg was trying to figure out why some children acted how they did when it came to some moral dilemmas Stages of Moral Development Kohlberg theorized the development of moral behavior into six stages. The first stage is considered the preconvention level. At this stage a person behaviors morally or unmorally depending on the consequences of their behavior and rewards and self-interest (Coon & Mitterer, 2013). There are two stages at this level: obedience and punishment and stage two individualism and exchange. The conventional level is the second level and consists of two stages called Good Interpersonal Relationships and maintaining the social order. People act at this level to please others and to follow the rules and values of the group. The post conventional level is the highest level and consists of social contract and individual rights and Universal principals. Kohlberg states that the behavior of individuals at this level is directed......

Words: 1026 - Pages: 5

Kohlberg's Moral Development

...Kohlberg’s Moral Development Linda Jones University of Phoenix Moral development over an individual’s lifespan remains a major topic of interest for psychologists. There are many theories that have been developed over time but one of the most well-known was developed by Lawrence Kohlberg. Kohlberg expanded the work of Jean Piaget and modified it to explain moral reasoning and how it develops. While Piaget described a process of moral development that occurred in only two stages, Kohlberg’s theory grew to include six stages within three different levels. Kohlberg proposed three these six stages and three levels that moral reasoning was a process that continued through an individual’s life. Level 1 of Kohlberg’s Moral Development is Preconventional Morality. It contains two stages. The first stage is Obedience and Punishment. This marks the earliest formation of moral development and is typically seen in young children though adults are also able to express this reasoning. In the first stage the individual sees rules as unchanging and absolute. Obeying the rules becomes a top priority because it is the only way to not be punished (Brans & Blu, 1998). The second stage of Level 1 is called Individualism and Exchange. Children begin to account for their own points of view. They also begin to judge actions based on intent as well as how the action serves the individual (Graham, et al., 2011). Reciprocity begins to be an option but only if the individual’s needs are......

Words: 1841 - Pages: 8

Outline and Evaluate Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development - 24 Marks

...Outline and evaluate Kohlberg’s theory of moral development (8+16 marks) Lawrence Kohlberg was influenced by Piaget’s theory of moral development where he also believed that the moral reasoning of children changes over time; he also used moral dilemmas to gather insight into the types of reasoning used by people as they mature. Kohlberg proposed six separate stages of moral development which he grouped together into three levels with the key points of this theory being that the stages are universal and invariant-people everywhere go through the same stages in the same order, each new stage represents a more equilibrated form of moral understanding resulting in a more logically consistent and morally mature form of understanding., each stage forms an organised whole-a qualitatively different pattern of moral understanding that is applied across all situations, and that moral maturity is achieved through biological maturation, disequilibrium, and gains in perspective taking. The first level is known as the pre-conventional level where children accept the rules of authority figures and judge actions by their consequences; actions that result in punishments are bad and those that bring rewards are good. Stage 1 of this level is the punishment and obedience orientation where this style of morality ignores the intentions behind a behaviour and focuses on obeying rules that enforced by punishment. The second stage to this level is the instrumental purpose orientation where......

Words: 1237 - Pages: 5

Justice and Moral Development

...individuals will see law enforcement agencies, especially the officers that work for an agency, to be the tool that will be used to garner their justice. Kohlberg’s stages of moral development theory can help to explain criminal behavior in that a criminal that acts out for a particular reason will not be able to understand the stages that are beyond the one that they are in, such as only being interested in pleasing themselves. Using this information, a plan of deterrence can be made for criminals and arrive at justice for the victims and their families involved. The concept of justice can mean something a little different to everyone, but it conveys a sense that when a person is wronged by another they will receive some type of recompose in either the person being punished; they received their item back or other compensation that fulfills the feeling of being wronged. According to Nidich, R., Nidich, S. and Alexander (2005): Citing Socrates and Martin Luther King, Jr. as examples, Kohlberg points out that their willingness to uphold moral principles was based on both their faith in these moral principles as expressions of human reason and on their faith in justice, which was rooted in a cosmic perspective. (p. 139) This concept is something that many use to determine their own moral compass on issues in their life. The concept of justice relates to the field of criminal justice, especially law enforcement officers, in that most victims and families......

Words: 934 - Pages: 4

Moral Development

...The moral development of a person’s character will have a major impact on society as a whole. If we fail to show children moral responsibility they in turn will lack the moral and ethical sense of values. The critical importance of the early years remains crucial to all later development. With all the violence and unsuitable language in film, television, and music today’s society poses an even larger threat on children. Moral functioning involves self-esteem, self-control, and altruistic behavior. It seems as if children are developing at a faster rate than previous generations. If we fail to instill morals than we may fail to produce children that have the conscience to decide what is right from what is wrong. If children grow up lacking moral judgment it will have an effect not just on them but on society. Moral behavior comes from an interest in and concern for other people. If there is an absence of desire to interact and develop relationships in society it may be viewed as lacking any moral development. There are two theorists that provided several stages of moral development. The first theorist is Lawrence Kohlberg. Kohlberg came up with three levels of moral reasoning, Premoral, Convention, and Principled. Kohlberg collected data by presenting boys with moral dilemmas and asking them to evaluate the situation that is presented to them. The second theorist is Carol Gilligan. Gilligan believed that Kohlberg’s study was flawed because he used mostly boys. Gilligan also......

Words: 589 - Pages: 3

Moral Development

...Stages of Moral Development According to Kohlberg Stages of Moral Development by Lawrence Kohlberg (1971) I. Pre-conventional Level At this level, the child is responsive to cultural rules and labels of good and bad, right or wrong, but he interprets the labels in terms of either the physical or hedonistic consequences of action (punishment, reward, exchange of favors) or the physical power of those who enunciate the rules and labels. The level is divided into the following three stages: Stage 0: Egocentric judgement. The child makes judgements of good on the basis of what he likes and wants or what helps him, and bad on the basis of what he does not like or what hurts him. He has no concept of rules or of obligations to obey or conform independent of his wish. Stage 1: The punishment and obedience orientation. The physical consequences of action determine its goodness or badness regardless of the human meaning or value of these consequences. Avoidance of punishment and unquestioning deference to power are values in their own right, not in terms of respect for an underlying moral order supported by punishment and authority (the latter is stage 4). Stage 2: The instrumental relativist orientation. Right action consists of what instrumentally satisfies one's own needs and occasionally the needs of others. Human relations are viewed in terms such as those of the market place. Elements of fairness, reciprocity, and equal sharing are present, but they are......

Words: 5329 - Pages: 22

Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development

...Kohlberg’s Stages of Moral Development Kohlberg’s “Stages of Moral Development” is a very broad explanation of his take on moral development of people through different stages of their lives. The developmental road map is laid out and grouped a couple different ways. It is a three tier, six stage, moral development scale that groups certain rationales together based upon mental ways of thinking during maturation. Level one is titled “Preconventional Morality” and the stages contained within it are Stage I “Obedience and Punishment” and Stage II “Individualism and Exchange”. This level, according to Kohlberg, is the time in which children are learning to think for themselves and make decisions based upon how actions will benefit them and whether those actions will result in a punishment. I interpret this as the beginning stages of learning right from wrong and how to not get busted when you decide that you don’t want to do what is right. Level two is titled “Conventional Morality” and it’s stages are Stage III “Good Interpersonal Relationships” and Stage IV “Maintaining the Social Order”. The general premise of this level is that development has reached a point where selfishness and self-serving decisions are grounded by a general idea of what is considered to be wrong and what punishment or repercussion will result from doing an action. Level three is titled “Postconventional Morality” and it’s stages are Stage 5 “Social Contract and Individual Rights” and......

Words: 539 - Pages: 3

Kohlbergs Theory

...Gilligan’s case for gender bias in Kohlberg's theory of moral reasoning. How does she justify her argument? How does her theory of moral reasoning relate to Erikson’s ideas about the relationship between autonomy and intimacy? Finally, in your own upbringing, were interdependence/empathy or independence/autonomy emphasized more? At what ages (be specific with at least one example)? Did the focus change as you grew older? Was it different in your family depending on your gender? What perspective would you try to emphasize with your own (perhaps hypothetical) children? Would it be different for different genders? This last set of questions is asking for your opinion about these issues in moral reasoning and there is not a correct answer, but you should engage the course readings in your responses. • Lawrence Kohlberg (1969) theory of moral development outlined a six-stage process within three levels. Kohlberg’s studies were not as age-dependent. Stages are: Pre-conventional; usually exhibited in children who have not yet realized what is right or wrong according to society’s conventions. Conventional; This level of moral development is more typical of adolescents and adults, and therefore their moral actions are often based upon how society expects them to act in a particular situation. Lastly, Post-conventional; An abstract way of looking at reality. Carol Gilligan (1982) theorized women use ethic of care while reasoning out moral dilemmas while men use......

Words: 665 - Pages: 3

Explanation of Moral Development

...Kohlberg’s theory of moral development is based upon the principles of cognitive development proposed by Piaget. This suggests behaviour is driven by cognitive processing | 1 | Kohlberg’s investigative methods were more systematic than Piaget and therefore the explanation may have greater objectivity. | 2 | Similar to Piaget, Kohlberg suggests that moral development occurs in invariant stages which are culturally universal. | 2 | Snarey’s meta-analysis, which covered both collectivist and individualist cultures, supported the idea that these stages are universal in all cultures. | | | 3 | However, other research has suggested that the theory is culturally biased and Eurocentric. | | | 4 | Kohlberg takes a social constructivist approach to moral development, which means behaviour is affected by interaction This means that ‘good’ development can be promoted and ‘bad’ development can be addressed with therapy. | 3 | Kohlberg suggested that the process is driven by a gradual maturation of thinking skills which enable the individual to take different perspectives. | 5 | Whereas Piaget’s theory suggests that cognitive development occurs until about 12, Kohlberg’s theory of moral development suggests that it continues into adulthood. | 4 | Kohlberg also stated that development necessitates environmental and social interaction. | 6 | Therefore, Kohlberg is incorporating the theories of both Piaget and Vygotsky into the theory of moral development. | 5 | Kohlberg......

Words: 615 - Pages: 3

Moral Development and Justice

...Moral Development and the Justice System As law enforcement officials, we need to understand the moral development of not only those we come in contact with in our job, but also of ourselves. Why? The answer is, as police officers; we may be confronted with hundreds of issues about moral reasoning each day. These may range from the decision a suspect makes about whether to resist arrest to whether or not we issue a speeding ticket to a friend. Every day, citizens, as well as officers, make hundreds of decisions that involve moral reasoning. It is imperative as officers of the law that we understand and recognize the reasons behind the decisions of other as well as ourselves. To change our behavior and appreciate others behavior we must be aware of why we as humans make the decisions we make. A psychologist named Lawrence Kohlberg identified three levels of moral development or reasoning. The first level is pre-conventional morality, and it contains two stages. At the pre-conventional level, one does not have a personal code of morality. Instead, our moral code is formed by the standards of adults in our environment and the consequences of adhering to or breaking their rules. This stage is prevalent in children, but can be seen even in older youth and in some cases, adults. The two stages in Level one are: Obedience and Punishment Orientation and Individualism and Exchange. In the first stage an individual is good to avoid being punished. In the second stage, the person......

Words: 1611 - Pages: 7

Kohlberg Moral Development

...Kohlberg's Moral Development Crystal Bombay, Ruth A .Buissereth, Steven Odemns, Cherish Powell, and Steven Soranno October 26, 2015 Shawn Davis Kohlberg's Moral Development Today’s discussion will evaluate Kohlberg’s theory on moral development and also Carol Gilligan research on moral reasoning. The topic will first summarize the theory of moral development by psychology’s pioneer Lawrence Kohlberg. The discussion will also have a compelling view of three approaches by Kohlberg to help individuals understand moral development. The topic will also give an explanation of three of limitations of the Kohlberg’s theory and how they work in individual’s lives. The discussion will then give insight on Carol Gilligan and her research on gender differences with moral development and reasoning. This topic will bring delightful stimulations to the mind as there is an in-depth look gender differences in the approach of moral development and reasoning. Kohlberg’s theory Lawrence Kohlberg was a psychologist that extended Jean Piaget's theories. Kohlberg felt that moral development was a process that continues throughout an individual's lifespan. According to Reimer (1977), "Piaget's research dealt mostly with younger children. Kohlberg adopted Piaget's methodology and applied it to older children and adolescents" (p. 61). Kohlberg believed that there were six stages to moral development, within these stages they were classified into three different levels. The......

Words: 1798 - Pages: 8

How Effective Is Kohlberg’s Stage Theory of Moral Development in Explaining Moral Reasoning and Moral Behaviour?

...‘How effective is Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral development in explaining moral reasoning and moral behaviour?’ Morality refers to the ‘principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour’ (Oxford dictionary, 2013). Moral development focuses on the way morality changes from childhood to adulthood. It consists of two things; moral reasoning and moral behaviour. Moral reasoning is when an individual tried to work out the difference between right and wrong by using logic. This is a process that is undertaken by people daily in their lives when faced with dilemmas and they need to make a decision based on the morality of the action and what the consequences could be. Moral behaviour is the way people can behave depending on their moral reasoning. Moral behaviour consists of four components; moral sensitivity, moral judgement, moral motivation and moral character. Many theories have been developed on moral development. These theories are based on an individual’s level of cognitive maturity. This essay focuses on Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, and aims to discuss how effective Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral development is, in explaining moral reasoning and moral behaviour. Kohlberg Developed the moral development theory based on Piaget’s theory. Piaget believed that moral development was only a two-staged theory; the first stage of his theory was common in childhood and was called the ‘Heteronomous’ stage. The general idea......

Words: 1572 - Pages: 7

Moral Development

...Moral Development Many theorists have developed theories to understand and define the ability of people to reason morally. Moral reasoning is defined as the thinking process where the objective is to determine whether an idea is right or wrong and involves the formation of values on which someone bases their decisions. Theorists have different views on moral reasoning and the factors that contribute to an individual’s level of reasoning capabilities. Lawrence Kohlberg and Carol Gilligan developed cognitive theories to explain moral reasoning in a series of stages. The movie John Q, raises the question of what is considered morally right and what is wrong and by whose perspective. The characters in the movie can be classified into either Kohlberg’s or Gilligan’s theories of reasoning. Theorist Lawrence Kohlberg (1973) had a qualitative perspective of moral development. His theory breaks development into three levels, each of which is divided further into two stages. The levels consist of: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional. These can be loosely correlated with age. He theorized that moral growth begins at the beginning of life and continues until the day one dies. He believed that people proceed through each stage of moral development consecutively without skipping or going back to a previous stage. Level One, the Pre-Conventional level, is the level of moral reasoning based solely on a person’s own needs. The person is ego-centric and does......

Words: 4041 - Pages: 17