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1

Piagets theory on the development of moral reasoning in children

Describes how the sense for rules develops ( consists of 3 stages )

1. Premoral period
2. Heteronomous morality
3. Autonomous morality stage

2

Premoral period
(Piaget)

Rules are not understood

(4-5y)

3

Heteronomous morality
(Piaget)

Rules are seen as coming from a higher authority and cannot be changed

--> justice is whatever authorities (parents, laws) say is right

(4-5 to 9-10)

4

Autonomous morality
(Piaget)

1. Children learn that rules can be constructed + changed by the group


2. Children no longer accept blind obedience to authority as the basis of moral decisions

--> judge by motive + intention
--> value fairness + equality

(9-10+y/o)

5

Limitations to Piagets theory

1. Little evidence that peer interaction stimulates moral development

2. Underestimates young childrens ability to appreciate the role of Intentionality

3. Young children don't believe that clearly immoral actions are right even when adults say they are

6

Kohlbergs theory on the development of moral reasoning in children

Moral development proceeds through a specific series of stages that are discontinuous, hierarchical + universal

a) Pre-conventional
b) Conventional
c) Post-conventional

--> the reasoning behind the choices of how what do in the dilemma is what reflects the quality of their moral reasoning

7

Preconventional Level
(Kohlberg)

Preconventional reasoning is self centered

1. Obedience + punishment orientation
--> "How can I avoid punishment"

2. Instrumental + exchange orientation
--> "What is in it for me ?"

(includes stages 1+2)
=> limited to people at concrete operational stage

(0-10 y/o)

8

Conventional Level
(Kohlberg)

Conventional moral reasoning is centered on social relationships

3. Conformity to others expectations
--> good boy/ girl attitude

4. Focuses on compliance with social duties + laws

(includes stages 3+4)
=> limited to people at formal operational stage

(14+)

9

Postconventional level

Postconventional moral reasoning is centered on ideals

5. Social contract + individual rights orientation
--> being thoroughly altruistic, but limited for selfish reasons

6. Universal ethical principles
--> sticking to this principles no matter what
--> reached by a minority of adults

(includes stages 5+6)

10

What underlies the development of the "higher level" moral judgement according to both Piaget and Kohlberg ?

1. Age related advances in cognitive skills

2. Perspective taking

11

Limitations to Kohlbergs theory

1. No sufficient differentiation between moral issues + social convention

2. Biased against people living in non western societies

3. Not clear, that the development is qualitatively discontinuous

4. Stage 5 is rare + Stage 6 doesn't exist

12

Prosocial behavior

Refers to voluntary behavior intended to benefit another

--> all children are capable, but differ in how often they engage in this behavior

ex.: helping, sharing, comforting others

13

5 Levels of prosocial moral reasoning
(Eisenberg)

1. HEDONISTIC ORIENTATION
--> Childrens own needs are central

2. NEEDS BASED
--> Other peoples physical needs become important

3. APPROVAL
--> Children become concerned about social approval
--> act in a manner that is considered "good"

4. EMPATHIC
--> Judgements are based on perspective taking

5. INTERNALIZED STAGE
--> Judgements reflect internalized values + affect

14

Moral judgments

Pertain to issues of right, wrong, fairness and justice

15

Social conventional judgments

Decisions that pertain to customs or regulations intended to secure social coordination + organization

16

Personal judgments

Decisions that pertain to actions in which individual preferences are the main consideration

17

Conscience

Refers is an internal regulatory mechanism that increases the individuals ability to conform to standards of conduct accepted in his or her culture

--> can also promote prosocial behavior

18

What are the 2 components of conscience

1. The desire to comply with rules

2. Feelings of guilt when failing to do so

19

The development of conscience

1. showing an appreciation for moral standards + rules

2. Understanding others emotions + goals

3. Taking on parents moral values + exhibition guilt when violating them

20

Which factors may influence the development of the conscience ?

1. Temperament

2. Parent child relationship (Secure attachment)

21

Altruistic motives

Helping others for reasons that initially include empathy or sympathy for others

--> at later ages it reflects the desire to act in ways consistent with ones conscience + moral principles

22

Empathy

Refers to an emotional reaction to another emotional state that is similar to the other persons state

23

Sympathy

A feeling of concern for another in reaction to the others emotional state or condition

24

The development of prosocial behavior

14-18 months: Child will pick up an object, if dropped by accident, and return it to you

18-25 months: Share a personal object with an adult that was viewed being upset

2y/o: Try to comfort people being upset, without becoming upset themselves

3y/o: Assist others with various tasks

ex.: setting table, carrying objects


=> prosocial behavior declines in early to mid-adolescence

--> rebounds in early adulthood

25

Factors that influence the differences in prosocial behavior

1. Genes
--> sex differences

2. Temperament
--> differences in the ability to regulate emotion

3. Social cognition

4. Socialization in the family

5. School/ peers

6. Culture

26

3 Ways in which parents can socialize prosocial behavior in their children

1. modeling + teaching

2. methods of disciplining
--> especially discipline that involves reasoning

3. arranging opportunities to engage in prosocial
behavior
--> can increase their willingness to take on prosocial tasks

27

3 Components of morality

1. Affective
--> feelings that surround right vs wrong actions + motivated moral thoughts

2. Cognitive
--> the way we conceptualize right vs wrong

3. Behavioral
--> how we behave when faced with temptation

28

3 domains of prosocial behavior

1. helping

2. sharing

3. informing