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A Journey to Lawrence Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development

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VV Chiu

on 29 October 2012

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Transcript of A Journey to Lawrence Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development

A Journey to Lawrence Kohlberg's Theory of Moral Development 1) Give Handout
2) Think of Moral Questions Elise
The Heinz Dilemma Search for Justice

What is RIGHT?

What is WRONG? Jessica Putting Theory into Practice *Many ways to implement Kohlberg’s Moral Theory into practice and many social workers and psychologists use it to enhance their research, counseling or projects with clients
*For example: Diagnosing juvenile’s behavior
*Understanding a client’s search for justice and what is right and wrong
*Uncovering the connection between a client’s past actions and their choices Theory Defined by Clinicians *Clinicians may wish their clients were in the top stage, but need to recognize most are caught in the middle stage.
*More people have moral inconsistencies than moral consistencies Study: Group of women - some in domestic violence relationships and some not
Goal of study:
(a) to investigate if there are any differences in moral reasoning the women
(b) to investigate if there are any differences in moral reasoning between women who had left the relationship and women who had not
Based on two questions a) history of the domestic violence b) current relationship status Theory in Application:
Domestic Violence & Moral Reasoning *Used Kohlberg’s stages of moral development to investigate moral reasoning skills of delinquent juveniles vs. non-delinquent juveniles
*Participated in moral development group sessions twice a week to assess students
*Company created a behavior modification video game in the hopes of teaching students about moral dilemmas and positive decision making Theory in application: Behavioral Gaming Defining Problems *Kohlberg agreed with Piaget's theory of moral development in principle, but wanted to develop his ideas further
*Piaget recognized that cognitive development is closely tied to moral development
*Kohlberg hoped to discover the ways in which moral reasoning changed as people grew Balancing among well-being, strengths and deficits *There does exist a balance according to the stages, however, biases are present
*Kohlberg's scale is about how people justify behaviors
*His stages are NOT a method of ranking of how moral someone's behavior is Considerations and Criticisms *Kohlberg’s theory is criticized for being androcentric *The stages of moral development emphasize justice, excluding other values

*Carol Gilligan, in response to the biases present in Kohlberg’s theory, developed stages of moral development that placed greater emphasis on ethic of care *Kohlberg’s Stages have been criticized for being culturally biased as they emphasize western philosophy

*Does moral reasoning necessarily lead to moral behavior? *Cross cultural study conducted by Nobumichi Iwasa, 1992
*Compared the responses of American and Japanese adults after presenting them with the Heinz Dilemma
*Analysis of their responses revealed a difference of ideals… *Can the concept of post-conventional morality be seen as dangerous or destructive to Kohlberg's own notion of moral reasoning?

*Hogan (1973, 1975) Kohlberg’s Theory Isn’t that Bad… *He has not just expanded on Piaget’s stages or moral judgment, but has done so in an inspiring way
*Kohlberg has provided us with a challenge vision of what development might be Kevin Thank You for Listening! History of Lawrence Kohlberg + Moral Development Theory The Life of Lawrence Kohlberg *Jewish-American
*Born October 25th, 1927 in Bronxville, New York
*Volunteered as a sailor in WWII
*Worked to smuggle Jews through the British Blockade into Palestine
*Passion for the Zionist cause
*Impact on future career? *Returning from war in 1948, Kohlberg enrolled at The University of Chicago - BA in Psychology in 1 year
*Was married to Lucille Stigberg in 1955 and had two sons, David and Steven *From 1958-1968 Kohlberg taught at Yale and The University of Chicago
*Primarily affiliated with The Committee on Human Development
*He taught for 10 years (1968-1978) at Harvard University as a professor of education and social psychology *Was fascinated by the cognitive development work by Piaget
*Focused on moral development of children
*His primary work, the development of stages of moral development, was born out of his doctoral dissertation using the Dilemma of Heinz (Completed in 1958)
*31 years old Death
*In 1971, Kohlberg contracted a tropical disease while he was completing research in Belize *On January 19th, 1987, Kohlberg died (1927-1987) Similar to
Person in Environment Concept *Common domain
*Focus on interaction between person(s) and environment(s) *Focus on children - Sense of right, wrong, and justice - Generate own moral judgments
*Moral agents
*Power of moral reasoning
*Social interaction/Moral discourse/Cultural factors Personal Exclusions *Mastering each stage one at a time
*Discussion of moral dilemmas and by participation in consensus democracy
*The stages emerge from our own thinking - Social experiences
-Discussions and debates with others
-New, more comprehensive positions Code of Ethics: Consistent? Inconsistent? *Importance of human relationships
*Competence (Cultural competence and social diversity?) Effectiveness *Colby et al (1983) - 20 year study of 58 American males who progressed as predicted through levels
1 – 4

*10-16 yrs stages 1 & 2 decreased & stages 3 & 4 increased

*Only 10% at stage 5
in their 30’s

*No evidence of stage 6 *Snarey (1985) analysis of 44 studies from 27 cultures

*Supports Kohlberg's predictions through levels 1 – 4

*Same order & time

*Stage 5 more in Western cultures than rural or village cultures

*Reflection of Western individualism Conclusions

*Strong evidence for children/adults progressing through Kohlberg’s stages as predicted – across cultures

*Most people do not go beyond Stage 4

*Difficult to distinguish between stages 5 & 6

*Cultural variations not accounted for

*Gender bias? Goodbye Vicki Evaluation
Effectiveness Scenario 1: Cookie Mom: Vicki
Son: Kevin Scenario 2: Candy Dad: Kevin
Daughter: Elise
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