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KOHLBERG’S THEORY OF MORAL REASONING By Lindsey Busker and Sydney Thomson.

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Presentation on theme: "KOHLBERG’S THEORY OF MORAL REASONING By Lindsey Busker and Sydney Thomson."— Presentation transcript:

1 KOHLBERG’S THEORY OF MORAL REASONING By Lindsey Busker and Sydney Thomson

2 Lawrence Kohlberg  Born in Bronxville, New York on October 25, 1927  Attended high school at Phillips Academy and then served in the Merchant Marine at the end of World War II  Earned his bachelor’s degree in 1948  Completed his doctoral degree in psychology in 1958  Died on January 19, 1987 in Massachusetts

3 Six Stages of Moral Reasoning  Level I: Pre-conventional  Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment Orientation  Stage 2: Instructional Relativist Orientation  Level II: Conventional  Stage 3: “Good Boy/ Nice Girl” Orientation  Stage 4: Law and Order Orientation  Level III: Post-conventional  Stage 5: Social Contract  Stage 6: Universal, Ethical Principles

4 Problematizing Literature  Ford and Lowery (1986) - young adults only  Myyry, Juåujärvi, and Pesso (2013) - higher education only  White, Bushnell, and Regnemer (1978) - not contemporary

5 Our Two Hypotheses  Based on Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral reasoning, we predict that a higher level of education correlates to a higher level of moral reasoning.  We predict that there are gender differences based on Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral reasoning.  We predict that with regularly attending religious service, there would be an increase in level of moral reasoning

6 Methodology  Participants  convenience sample of 24 6 seniors 6 freshmen 6 eighth graders 6 fourth graders  Setting  Holy family classroom Braniff classroom, Anselm classroom  Measures  paper-based  Gender, Age, classification, religious service  Dilemma VIII  Procedure  administer moral dilemma VIII

7 Moral Dilemma VIII  In a country in Europe, a poor man named Valjean could find no work, nor could his sister and brother. Without money, he stole food and medicine that they needed. He was captured and sentenced to prison for 6 years. After a couple of years, he escaped from the prison and went to live in another part of the country under a new name. He saved money and slowly built up a big factory. He gave his workers the highest wages and used most of his profits to build a hospital for people who couldn't afford good medical care. Twenty years had passed when a tailor recognized the factory owner as being Valjean, the escaped convict whom the police had been looking for back in his hometown.

8 Moral Dilemma VIII Questions 1. Should the tailor report Valjean to the police?  Why or why not? 2. Does a citizen have a duty or obligation to report an escaped convict?  Why or why not?

9 Questions 3 & 4 3. Suppose Valjean were a close friend of the tailor. Should he then report Valjean?  Why or why not? 4. If Valjean were reported and brought before the judge, should the judge send him back to jail or let him go free?  Why or why not?

10 Questions 5 & 6 5. Thinking in terms of society should people who break the law be punished?  Why or why not? 6. Valjean was doing what his conscience told him to do when he stole the food and medicine. Should a lawbreaker be punished if he is acting out of conscience?  Why or why not?

11 Glossary of Terms  Choice  Autonomous choices support and justify the solution to a dilemma that is just and fair from the standpoint of post-conventional stages of moral judgment (i.e., they are based on principles of justice, fairness, equity.)  Hierarchy  Autonomous judgments reflect a clear hierarchy of moral values and prescriptive duties that supersede pragmatic, descriptive, consequential or aesthetic considerations.  Freedom  Autonomous judgments are made without reference to external parameters (such as authority, tradition, or law) for justification or validation  Reversibility  judgments are characterized by the ability to engage in mutual or reciprocal role taking. Heteronomous judgments are constrained by considering only one perspective on a problem.  Constructivism  Autonomous judgments consider rules and laws as humanly constructed guidelines, and as such are flexible and adaptable to special situation and circumstances. Heteronomous judgments construe laws and rules as emanating from some higher authority and therefore must remain rigid and inflexible

12 Grading Rubric Stages of Moral Reasoning Defined by KohlbergHow we determined which stage each student is in Stage 1 Concern on a fixed set of unchanging rules Worry about what authorities will permit and punish Gave a very black and white answer Did not explain or justify their answer Stage 2 Punishments are now a risk Fair exchange policy Mentioning what benefits others listed in the dilemma Stage 3 Character traits described Motives of each party involved Mentions redemption/lesson learned Stage 4 Emphasis on obeying laws, respecting authority, and preforming one’s duties so social order is maintained Explore the reasons why we say something is wrong Solely focused on law and order Stage 5 Stress on basic rights and democratic procedures to change unfair laws Student is primarily concerned with the individual rights, and how citizens agree as a whole. Anything to do with Valjean making a difference, benefiting society, promoting social justice, Stage 6 Look at problems through all eyes- clear concept of universal principles We did not look at this stage

13 Stage 1: Obedience and Punishment

14 Stage 2: Instructional Relativist

15 Stage 3: “Good Boy/ Nice Girl”

16 Stage 4: Law and Order

17 Stage 5: Social Contract

18 Results: Seniors ParticipantGenderAgeClassificationReligious ServiceMoral Reasoning 1Male22SeniorYes4 2Female22SeniorNo4 3Female21SeniorYes4 4Male22SeniorYes4 5Female21SeniorNo3 6Female21SeniorYes4

19 Results: Freshman ParticipantGenderAgeClassificationReligious Service Moral Reasoning 7Male24FreshmanYes4 8Male18FreshmanYes4 9Female18FreshmanYes4 10Male18FreshmanYes3 11Female18FreshmanYes4 12Female18FreshmanYes3

20 Results: Eighth Graders ParticipantGenderAgeClassificationReligious Service Moral Reasoning 19Female138 th GradeYes4 20Female138 th GradeYes4 21Male148 th GradeNo3 22Female148 th GradeYes3 23Female138 th GradeYes4 24Female138 th GradeYes3

21 Results: Fourth Graders ParticipantGenderAgeClassificationReligious ServiceMoral Reasoning 13Male104 th GradeYes1 14Female94 th GradeYes1 15Female94 th GradeYes3 16Female94 th GradeYes2 17Female104 th GradeYes1 18Female94 th GradeNo2

22 Treatment of Data Averaged each class Seniors 3.83 Freshmen 3.66 Eighth graders 3.50 Fourth Graders 1.66 Averaged college group & elementary group Freshmen & Seniors Males Females th & 8th graders Males – 2.00 Females – 2.70 Hypothesis 1Hypothesis 2

23 Conclusion  Accept our first hypothesis in which we predicted that a higher level of education correlates to a higher level or moral reasoning.  Accept our second hypothesis that there would be gender differences for the college population, reject for based on Kohlberg’s stage theory of moral reasoning.

24 Limitations  Convenience sample  Understanding of the questions asked  Misinterpretation of religious service  Time  Control of extraneous variables  Participant bias

25 Works Cited  Ford, M. R., & Lowery, C. R. (1986). Gender differences in moral reasoning: A comparison of the use of justice and care orientations. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 50(4), doi: /  Myyry, L., Juujärvi, S., & Pesso, K. (2013). Change in values and moral reasoning during higher education. European Journal Of Developmental Psychology, 10(2), doi: /  White, C. B., Bushnell, N., & Regnemer, J. L. (1978). Moral development in Bahamian school children: A 3-year examination of Kohlberg's stages of moral development. Developmental Psychology, 14(1), doi: / 


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