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  2. Moral Criticism and Dramatic Construction (~360 BC-present)
  3. Original Research ARTICLE
  4. Moral development - Wikipedia

They understand that Heinz had good motives for stealing, but they point out that if we all stole whenever we had a good motive, the social structure would break down. Thus stage 4 subordinates a concern for motives to a wider concern for the society as a whole. The concept of hierarchic integration is very important for Kohlberg because it enables him to explain the direction of his stage sequence. Since he is not a maturationist, he cannot simply say that the sequence is wired into the genes.

So he wants to show how each new stage provides a broader framework for dealing with moral issues. Stage 4, as mentioned, transcends the limitations of stage 3 and becomes more broadly concerned with social organization. Stage 5, in turn, sees the weakness of stage 4; a well-organized society is not necessarily a moral one. Stage 5 therefore considers the rights and orderly processes that make for a moral society.

Each new stage retains the insights of the prior stage, but it recasts them into a broader framework. In this sense, each new stage is more cognitively adequate than the prior stage. If Kohlberg is right about the hierarchic nature of his stages, we would expect that people would still be able to understand earlier stages but consider them inferior, In fact, when Rest Rest et al.

They understood lower-stage reasoning, but they disliked it. What they preferred was the highest stage they heard, whether they fully understood it or not. This finding suggests, perhaps, that they had some intuitive sense of the greater adequacy of the higher stages. Werner, we remember from Chapter 4, described hierarchic integration as a process that occurs alongside differentiation, and Kohlberg believes his stages represent increasingly differentiated structures as well. Kohlberg points out that the stage 5 value on life, for example, has become differentiated from other considerations.

Stage 5 respondents say that we ought to value life for its own sake, regardless of its value to authorities stage 1 , its usefulness to oneself stage 2 , the affection it arouses in us stage 3 , or its value within a particular social order stage 4. Stage 5 subjects have abstracted this value from other considerations and now treat it as a purely moral ideal. Their thinking, Kohlberg says, is becoming like that of the moral philosophers in the Kantian tradition , p.

Universal sequence. Kohlberg, like all stage theorists, maintains that his stage sequence is universal; it is the same in all cultures. At first glance, this proposal might be surprising. Don't different cultures socialize their children differently, teaching them very different moral beliefs? Kohlberg's response is that different cultures do teach different beliefs, but that his stages refer not to specific beliefs but to underlying modes of reasoning Kohlberg and Gilligan, 1.

For example, one culture might discourage physical fighting, while another encourages it more. As a result, children will have different beliefs about fighting, but they will still reason about it in the same way at the same stage. At stage 1, for example, one child might say that it is wrong to fight when insulted "because you will get punished for it, "while another says that "it is all right to fight; you won't get punished.

They do so because this is what they can cognitively grasp. Later on, the first child might argue that fighting is bad "because if everyone fought all the time there would be anarchy," while the second child argues that "people must defend their honor, because if they don't everyone will be insulting everyone, and the whole society will break down. Children, regardless of their beliefs, will always move to stage 4 thinking some time after stage 1 thinking because it is cognitively so much more sophisticated.

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Kohlberg, then, proposes that his stage sequence will be the same in all cultures, for each stage is conceptually more advanced than the next. He and other researchers have given his interview to children and adults in a variety of cultures, including Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, Israel, the Yucatan, Kenya, the Bahamas, and India. Most of the studies have been cross sectional, but a few have been longitudinal.

Thus far, the studies have supported Kohlberg's stage sequence. To the extent that children move through the stages, they appear to move in order Edwards, At the same time, people in different cultures seem to move through the sequence at different rates and to reach different end-points. In the United States most urban middle-class adults reach stage 4, with a small percentage using some stage 5 reasoning. In urban areas of other countries the picture is fairly similar. In the isolated villages and tribal communities of many countries, however, it is rare to find any adult beyond stage 3 Edwards, Kohlberg Nisan and Kohlberg, suggests that one can understand these findings in terms of Piagetian theory.

Cultural factors, in this theory, do not directly shape the child's moral thought, but they do stimulate thinking. Social experiences can challenge children's ideas, motivating them to come up with new ones. In traditional villages, however, there may be little to challenge a stage 3 morality; the norms of care and empathy work very well in governing the face-to-face interactions of the group.

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Thus, there is little to stimulate thinking beyond this stage. When, in contrast, young people leave the village and go off to the city, they witness the breakdown of interpersonal ties. They see that group norms of care and empathy have little impact on the impersonal interactions of city life, and they see the need for a formal legal structure to ensure moral conduct. They begin to think in terms of stage 4 morality.

Furthermore, as Keniston notes, if young people attend the universities, they may take classes in which the teachers deliberately question the unexamined assumptions of their childhoods and adolescences. Thus they are stimulated to think about moral matters in new ways. Kohlberg's scale has to do with moral thinking, not moral action. As everyone knows, people who can talk at a high moral level may not behave accordingly. Consequently, we would not expect perfect correlations between moral judgment and moral action.

Still, Kohlberg thinks that there should be some relationship. As a general hypothesis, he proposes that moral behavior is more consistent, predictable. For example, whereas stage 3 bases decisions on others' feelings, which can vary, stage 4 refers to set rules and laws. Thus, we can expect that moral behavior, too, will become more consistent as people move up the sequence. Generally speaking, there is some research support for this hypothesis e. Some research has focused on the relationships between particular stages and specific kinds of behavior.

For example, one might expect that juvenile delinquents or criminals would typically reason at stages 1 or 2, viewing morality as something imposed from without stage 1 or as a matter of self-interest stage 2 , rather than identifying with society's conventional expectations stages 3 and 4. Again, some research supports this hypothesis, but there also are some ambiguous results Blasi, Several studies have examined the relationship between postconventional thinking and student protest.

In a landmark study, Haan et al. Haan found that their thinking was more strongly postconventional than that of a matched sample of nonparticipants, but this f inding was not replicated for some other protests, apparently because moral principles were not at stake Keniston, , pp. Blasi , after reviewing 75 studies, concludes that overall there is a relationship between moral thought and action, but he suggests that we need to introduce other variables to clarify this relationship.

One variable may simply be the extent to which individuals themselves feel the need to maintain consistency between their moral thoughts and actions Blasi, , Kohlberg and Candee, Kohlberg has also tried to relate his moral stages to other forms of cognition. He has first analyzed his stages in terms of their underlying cognitive structures and has then looked for parallels in purely logical and social thought.

For this purpose, he has analyzed his own stages in terms of implicit role-taking capacities, capacities to consider others' viewpoints Kohlberg, ; see also Selman, , and Rest, At first, at stage 1, children hardly seem to recognize that viewpoints differ. They assume that there is only one right view, that of authorities.

Moral Criticism and Dramatic Construction (~360 BC-present)

At stage 2, in contrast, they recognize that people have different interests and viewpoints. They seem to be overcoming egocentrism; they see that perspectives are relative to the individual. They also begin to consider how individuals might coordinate their interests in terms of mutually beneficial deals. At stage 3, people conceptualize role-taking as a deeper, more empathic process; one becomes concerned with the other's feelings.


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Stage 4, in turn, has a broader, society-wide conception of how people coordinate their roles through the legal system.. Stages 5 and 6, finally, take a more idealized look at how people might coordinate their interests. Stage 5 emphasizes democratic processes, and stage 6 considers how all parties take one another's perspectives according to the principles of justice.

The moral stages, then, reflect expanded insights into how perspectives differ and might be coordinated. As such, the moral stages might be related to stages of logical and social thought which contain similar insights. So far, the empirical evidence suggests that advances in moral thinking may rest upon prior achievements in these other realms Kohlberg, ; Kuhn et al. For example, children seem to advance to stage 2, overcoming their egocentrism in the moral sphere, only after they have made equivalent progress in their logical and social thought. If this pattern is correct, we can expect to find many individuals who are logical and even socially insightful but still underdeveloped in their moral judgment.

Kohlberg would like to see people advance to the highest possible stage of moral thought. The best possible society would contain individuals who not only understand the need for social order stage 4 but can entertain visions of universal principles, such as justice and liberty stage 6 Kohlberg, How, then, can one promote moral development? Turiel found that when children listened to adults' moral judgments, the resulting change was slight.

This is what Kohlberg might have expected, for he believes that if children are to reorganize their thinking, they must be more active. Accordingly, Kohlberg encouraged another student, Moshe Blatt, to lead discussion groups in which children had a chance to grapple actively with moral issues Blatt and Kohlberg, Blatt presented moral dilemmas which engaged the classes in a good deal of heated debate.

He tried to leave much of the discussion to the children themselves, stepping in only to summarize, clarify, and sometimes present a view himself p. He encouraged arguments that were one stage above those of most of the class. In essence, he tried to implement one of Kohlberg's main ideas on how children move through the stages. They do so by encountering views which challenge their thinking and stimulate them to formulate better arguments Kohlberg et al.

Blatt began a typical discussion by telling a story about a man named Mr. Jones who had a seriously injured son and wanted to rush him to the hospital. Jones had no car, so he approached a stranger, told him about the situation, and asked to borrow his car. The stranger, however, refused, saying he had an important appointment to keep. So Mr. Jones took the car by force. Blatt then asked whether Mr. Jones should have done that. In the discussion that followed, one child, Student B, felt that Mr. Jones had a good cause for taking the car and also believed that the stranger could be charged with murder if the son died.

Student C pointed out that the stranger violated no law. Student B still felt that the stranger's behavior was somehow wrong, even though he now realized that it was not legally wrong. Thus, Student B was in a kind of conflict. He had a sense of the wrongness of the stranger's behavior, but he could not articulate this sense in terms that would meet the objection. He was challenged to think about the problem more deeply.

Original Research ARTICLE

In the end, Blatt gave him the answer. The stranger's behavior, Blatt said, was not legally wrong, but morally wrong--wrong according to God's laws this was a Sunday School Class. At this point, Blatt was an authority teaching the "correct" view. In so doing, he might have robbed Student B of the chance to formulate spontaneously his own position. He might have done better to ask a question or to simply clarify the student's conflict e. In any case, it seems clear that part of this discussion was valuable for this student.

Since he himself struggled to formulate a distinction that could handle the objection, he could fully appreciate and assimilate a new view that he was looking for. The Kohlberg-Blatt method of inducing cognitive conflict exemplifies Piaget's equilibration model. The child takes one view, becomes confused by discrepant information, and then resolves the confusion by forming a more advanced and comprehensive position.

The method is also the dialectic process of Socratic teaching. The students give a view, the teacher asks questions which get them to see the inadequacies of their views, and they are then motivated to formulate better positions.

In Blatt's first experiment, the students sixth graders participated in 12 weekly discussion groups. Blatt found that over half the students moved up one full stage after the 12 weeks. Blatt and others have tried to replicate these findings, sometimes using other age groups and lengthier series of classes. As often happens with replications, the results have not been quite so successful; upward changes have been smaller--usually a third of a stage or less, Still, it generally seems that Socratic classroom discussions held over several months can produce changes that, while small, are significantly greater than those found in control groups who do not receive these experiences Rest, One of Blatt's supplementary findings was that those students who reported that they were most "interested" in the discussions made the greatest amount of change.

This finding is in keeping with Piagetian theory. Children develop not because they are shaped through external reinforcements but because their curiosity is aroused. They become interested in information that does not quite fit into their existing cognitive structures and are thereby motivated to revise their thinking Another Kohlberg student--M.

Berkowitz --is examining actual dialogues to see if those who become most challenged and involved in the tensions of moral debate are also those who move forward. Although Kohlberg remains committed to the cognitive-conflict model of change, he has also become interested in other strategies. One is the "just Community" approach. Here the focus is not the individuals but groups. For example, Kohlberg and some of his colleagues Power and Reimer, set up a special democratic high school group and actively encouraged the students to think of themselves as a community.

Initially, little community feeling was present. The group's dominant orientation was stage 2; it treated problems such as stealing as purely individual matters. If a boy had something stolen, it was too bad for him. After a year, however, the group norms advanced to stage 3; the students now considered stealing to be a community issue that reflected on the degree of trust and care in the group. It will be interesting to see if the just community approach can promote further advances in moral thinking.

In the meantime, this approach has aroused some uneasiness among some of Kohlberg's associates. In particular, Reimer et al. Reimer says that he has talked to Kohlberg about this, and he has come away convinced that Kohlberg is committed to democratic groups in which students are encouraged "to think critically, to discuss assumptions, and. Thus, moral development remains a product of the students' own thinking. Kohlberg, a follower of Piaget, has offered a new, more detailed stage sequence for moral thinking.

Whereas Piaget basically found two stages of moral thinking, the second of which emerges in early adolescence, Kohlberg has uncovered additional stages which develop well into adolescence and adulthood. He has suggested that some people even reach a postconventional level of moral thinking where they no longer accept their own society as given but think reflectively and autonomously about what a good society should be.

The suggestion of a postconventional morality is unusual in the social sciences. Perhaps it took a cognitive developmentalist list to suggest such a thing. For whereas most social scientists have been impressed by the ways in which societies mold and shape children's thinking, cognitive-developmentalists are more impressed by the capacities for independent thought.

If children engage in enough independent thinking, Kohlberg suggests, they will eventually begin to formulate conceptions of rights, values, and principles by which they evaluate existing social arrangements. Perhaps some will even advance to the kinds of thinking that characterize some of the great moral leaders and philosophers who have at times advocated civil disobedience in the name of universal ethical principles. Kohlberg's theory has provoked a good deal of criticism.

Not everyone, first of all, is enthusiastic about the concept of a postconventional morality. Hogan , , for example, feels that it is dangerous for people to place their own principles above society and the law. It may be that many psychologists react to Kohlberg in a similar way, and that this reaction underlies many of the debates over the scientific merits of his research.

Others have argued that Kohlberg's stages are culturally biased. Simpson , for example, says that Kohlberg has developed a stage model based on the Western philosophical tradition and has then applied this model to non-Western cultures without considering the extent to which they have different moral outlooks. Because Aristotle saw poetry and drama as means to an end for example, an audience's enjoyment he established some basic guidelines for authors to follow to achieve certain objectives.


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  • La boîte en carton (Policier) (French Edition).
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  • To help authors achieve their objectives, Aristotle developed elements of organization and methods for writing effective poetry and drama known as the principles of dramatic construction Richter Aristotle believed that elements like " And so here we see one of the earliest attempts to explain what makes an effective or ineffective work of literature. Like Plato, Aristotle's views on art heavily influence Western thought. The debate between Platonists and Aristotelians continued " The results suggested that the more familiar with the game used in the experiment, the less negative affect and guilt was reported but the greater the enjoyment Hartmann and Vorderer, Joeckel et al.

    The authors found that increased moral salience in the video game was associated with decreased moral violations made. This was replicated in a similar study by Joeckel et al. Furthermore Boyan et al. Participants were gathered from an online forum focused on discussing Mass Effect. In addition Triberti et al. Grizzard et al. Participants were either assigned to a memory recall task either guilt memory or ordinary memory or a video game which included either a non-guilt inducing level playing as a terrorist soldier or a non-guilt inducing level playing as a United Nations soldier.

    Following participation in the assigned condition, the MFQ and measure of guilt were also completed. The results suggested participants playing as terrorists felt significantly more guilt than those who played as UN soldiers. The authors argued that this was to be expected, however, given that authority was a theme, as the participants played as soldiers it would have been interesting to have a non-soldier condition to understand the role of authority.

    The authors suggest that antisocial behavior in video games could relate to prosocial outcomes as the participants who violate the module could become more morally sensitive due to levels of guilt. However, if the module is being activated and stimulated this does not necessarily lead to a change in behavior. For example, whether increased guilt would lead players to stop killing innocent characters in the game cannot be assessed here, as this behavior was not measured.

    Bajovic examined if playing violent video games is related to moral reasoning and attitude toward violence with eighth grade students United Kingdom year 9 aged 13— Much of the previous research has examined short-term post-game effects, i. Participants were categorized into the violent group by meeting the following criteria: playing 1—3 h every day, one violent game included as a favorite, and the declaration that they played and enjoy violent games.

    The only variable to correlate negatively with moral scores was the length of time playing violent video games. There were no significant differences between the violent and non-violent group on moral scores. A sex difference was noted in that females spent less time playing video games and played less violent games than males Bajovic, Much of the literature has focused on violent content and in-game decisions; but it is important to consider other content in video games, such as mature content, to understand the potential relationship between morality and exposure to a variety of video game content.

    Obtaining many video game play variables would also allow differences in game play experiences to be examined e. Consequently the predictive relationship of moral development and video game play is unclear; this study aims to address these gaps by exploring the influences of both playing violent and non-violent video games and as well as self-reported video game play on moral reasoning in adolescents Hodge, The majority of the sample had a White Scottish, Irish English or other background One local secondary school was used in the study which included a sixth form.

    An online survey tool Surveymonkey was used to create an online survey for administration to participants. The survey was piloted to three secondary school pupils before the main administration. The survey took around 40 min to complete and was administered during lessons. The researcher delivered a 10 min presentation to brief students about the research and how to take part in the survey, followed by general information about how students should complete the survey individually.

    The instructions for the SRM were read aloud with a fictional example used to aid understanding. Finally the first question of the SRM was read aloud for the participants to think about to illustrate that this is the part that required decision making. If the participants were happy they wrote their full name at the start of the survey to consent. The researcher walked around the classroom while the students completed the survey to make sure students taking part could access the link and to offer help where needed. The survey was composed of the following three questionnaires.

    This measure was chosen for the present study as it is applicable for use with, a wide age range. Additionally the SRM is not time consuming for administration completed in about 25 minutes for participants aged 12 years and older. This is less time consuming compared to other similar measures of morality that require moral decisions and evaluation to be made, such as the Moral Judgment interview, which can take over an hour Colby and Kohlberg, ; Gibbs et al. The measure has been used previously in a similar study Bajovic, , The measure required participants to type answers for 11 questions covering five moral themes Gibbs et al.

    Video game play was developed and adapted from previous research, into a questionnaire to include a greater range of response options for game play, than has been used in previous research including number of favorite games Bajovic, Questions included: favorite games up to five , number of years playing video games, length of time per week playing video games and number of genres played. The eleven questions are split by themes: questions 1 to 4 Contract and Truth; questions 5 and 6 Affiliation related to helping family and friends ; questions, 7 and 8 Life questions, 9 and 10 Property and Law and finally question 11, Legal Justice.

    There are four stages of development 1—4 with three transitional stages in between each stage. A response is scored by matching the response to the appropriate Criterion Justification CJ. The authors argue that the language used to represent moral reasoning changes with development. More mature reasoning will start to understand societal implications of actions. Once the response had been matched to a CJ the highest stage was used and a score was derived by calculating the mean of the highest stage from the eleven questions.

    This gave an average score of development ranging from 1 to 4. This score could then be matched to a stage known as a global stage. It should be noted that not all responses could yield a score and were unscorable, such as if the responses were not moral or contained tautologies 2. This study aims to examine the relationships between moral development, video game play and moral scores SRM Hodge et al.

    Table 2 shows the SRM stages of the sample. The majority of the sample Only Figure 1 shows the SRM scores for each of the age groups and suggests that overall moral development is gradual and in the immature stage. Only the 17 year olds had mature morality into stage three. However, 18 year olds were slightly lower and classed as immature but this is likely to be an artifact of the small sample size. There does seem to change between the ages of 12 and 13 years see Figure 1.

    Figure 1. SRM scores of participant by chronological age. A line graph plotting the SRM scores of moral development and age of adolescents, 11—18 years old. Adolescents aged 15—18 were grouped together due to low numbers in the sample. Table 3 shows there is a sex difference for the continuous video game play variables. Note the large SD for length of time and engagement suggests a lot of variance in these variables. Table 4 shows a sex difference for the categorical game play variables. Males were between 7 to 16 times more likely to have to these variables in their game play.

    Table 3. Descriptive statistics for sex and continuous video game play variables. Table 4.

    Moral development - Wikipedia

    Descriptive statistics for sex and categorical video game play variables. Table 5 also suggests that males had higher moral scores than females: males reaching a higher developmental Global stage. The findings for gaming status suggested that participants who played games were a Global stage higher than those who do not play video games.

    Table 6 reports the results of the regression to investigate which found that moral type, sex and genre significantly predicted moral scores. Males significantly predicted higher SRM scores than females. Playing more genres of video games significantly predicted higher SRM scores.

    Although not significant playing violent game had a positive correlation with higher moral scores whereas mature content, years playing video games, engagement, moral narrative, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and length of time playing video games had a negative relationship and therefore, lower moral scores See Table B1 , Appendix B. This study examined moral development SRM scores and video game play. A significant change in moral development was evident in the sample between the ages of 12 and Interestingly males were found to have higher moral scores than females, in contrast to much previous research which has found that females within this age group have higher levels of moral reasoning Gibbs et al.

    Males were found to play video games for longer than females, and also be more likely to play higher rated and more violent video games. In addition a group of adolescents seemed to be playing video games for an excessive length of time. Although the non-gaming group was small the majority of adolescents did play video games, with the following variables; moral type, sex, and video game genre, found to be significant predictors of moral scores in the regression model.

    As expected moral type was shown to predict moral scores; moral B predicted higher moral scores. The sex difference in video game play that was found could be connected to the sex difference in morality or alternatively other factors could be of influence. The sex differences were similar to those found by Bajovic in that females played video games in general less and violent games specifically less often than males, which is consistent with previous research Gentile et al. Ferguson et al. In addition to sex difference this demonstrates the importance of gathering more data about video game play and representing both sexes in research.

    Individuals who play video games should be categorized by how, what and when they play games. Conversely, the engagement variable was not significantly different for males and females; this could suggest that the sex difference in video game play could be closing as both were similarly engaged with the game played. Additionally, it could suggest this experience does not differ between the sexes. The number of genres of video games played was shown to be a significant predictor of higher SRM moral scores.

    This suggests that certain aspects of game play could have a positive relationship with moral development such as playing a variety of genres of video games. Furthermore, some gaming variables had negative relationships but none were significant predictors of lower moral scores, including; years playing video games, mature content, engagement, moral narrative, GTA, COD, and length of time playing video games.