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Running head: KOHLBERG'S MORAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY 1 Kohlberg's Moral Development Theory Casey Brown, Blake Dickson, Anne Jinner, Joshua Mummert Psych600 July 28, 2014 Vineeta Kapoor
KOHLBERG'S MORAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY 2 Abstract Lawrence Kohlberg is a widely renowned psychologist who developed a theory of moral development initiated by Jean Piaget's early work on moral judgment. Kohlberg expanded on Jean Piaget's two-stage theory of moral development and added six more steps, which lead to research concluding in the most convincing evidence for Kohlberg’s stage sequences (Berk, 2010). Upon review of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development, we will examine the contributions made to our understanding of moral development along with the limitations presented in Kohlberg’s theory. While Kohlberg’s initial research was conducted using males, Carol Gilligan challenged his theory in regards to the moral development for females.
KOHLBERG'S MORAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY 3 Kohlberg's Moral Development Theory Lawrence Kohlberg is a recognized man in psychology because he developed the theory of moral development. Kohlberg expanded on Jean Piaget's two-stage theory of moral development and added six more steps (Berk, 2010). Kohlberg was more concerned with the processes used in the steps of moral development than the outcome (Pritchard, 1999). Understand the steps and stages children utilize to decide how to approach a result expanded on the theory of moral development. What is Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory? Lawrence Kohlberg's theory on moral development began with a study using adolescent boys in a clinical interviewing setting, presenting them with hypothetical moral dilemmas. Kohlberg followed the participants longitudinally, while continuously interviewing them at 3 to 4-year intervals over the next 20 years. Kohlberg found it most important that it is the way an individual reasons about the dilemma, and not the content of the response, that determines moral maturity (Berk, 2010). Kohlberg organized his theory of moral development into the three levels, each level containing unique two stages. The Pre-conventional level is the first in Kohlberg’s theory and argues that morality is externally controlled. This level indicates that children accept the rules of authority figures and describes positive and negative reinforcement of what is considered to be both good and bad behavior as defined by society. The first stage in the pre-conventional level is the punishment and obedience orientation stage. This stage presents the idea that children have a difficult time considering two points of view when faced with a moral dilemma. As a result of this, children behave morally out of fear of punishment. The second stage is the instrumental purpose
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